England women’s cricket captain Heather Knight believes her squad’s number one status in the ICC women’s world rankings ‘adds extra spice’ to the forthcoming Ashes series.
England topped the ICC Women’s team rankings for the first time yesterday after dethroning rivals Australia who have held the position since 2015.
Knight, 26, acknowledged the difficulties in facing an opponent like Australia and felt her squad has been inspired by their new position ahead of the series starting on October 22.
She said: “We’re just ahead of them so it adds extra spice to the Ashes series.
“We know whoever is going to win the series is probably going to take that World’s number one spot so it is an even bigger incentive to go out there and do well.
“It is going to be a real challenge, it is a hard place to play cricket.
“It is going to be hardly contested and really close, both sides have a lot of confidence going into it.”
Knight’s squad will try to reclaim the title and seek revenge after a harrowing defeat in the competition two years ago.
She added: “The Australians hold the Ashes at the moment, we lost it in 2015 and a lot of the girls are using that series as motivation.
“It was a really tough series for us, we didn’t play very well but we’d love to get those Ashes back.
The Plymouth-born cricketer also shed some light on the struggles she will be expected to face down under.
She said: “Aussies are quite often against the English.
“As soon as they realise you’re a cricketer and that you’re there for the Ashes, they let you know you have no chance.
“It feels like the whole country is against you.
“There is also going to be the challenge of the day and night tests which is going to be completely new for both teams.
“There will be a lot of heat and longer games as well.
“The team that adapts the most and learns the quickest will be most successful and ultimately win those Ashes.”
Knight, who is a self-confessed lover of food, likes to visit coffee shops and plantations to help her relax between matches.
She has teamed up with health food retailer Squirrel in designing her own salad named the ‘Green Knight’ which was heavily influenced by her time spent as an athlete abroad.
She said: “I absolutely love Halloumi and I chose it from all the time I spent in Australia where they have a big breakfast and brunch culture out there.’