Sport

Knight: Dunkley must build form on the domestic stage

By Milly McEvoy

Heather Knight has called for Sophia Dunkley to build confidence on the domestic stage after being dropped for England’s series against Pakistan. 

The opener has not been picked in either the T20I or ODI squads for the series that began at Edgbaston on Saturday, the hosts recovering from a poor start with the bat to run out 53-run winners. 

Dunkley has struggled for form on the international stage but Knight, who scored 49 to lead England’s recovery from 11-4, believes she can win her spot back after Maia Bouchier was preferred after a strong winter. 

“We’ve decided to give Maia a little bit of a run in the side to see how she goes after how she performed in New Zealand and taking her chance that way,” said Knight, speaking at the launch of The Metro Bank Girls in Cricket Fund.

“But there’s a lot of people in our conversations and things can change pretty quickly, it is certainly not nailed down as of yet. 

“For Dunks, it is about going back and playing some consistent cricket for the Stars, she has had a bit of a tough period and has worked really hard on her game outside of matches. 

“The stuff she has done is going to come to fruition, she just needs to play some consistent cricket. 

“We could have brought her on tour as a spare batter but we want her to be playing because we know when she is back at her best she is in and around her best XI. 

“It is important that she goes and does that and gets some confidence from playing domestic cricket and we’ll see where everyone is at after that Pakistan series.”

Pakistan presents perfect preparation for England ahead of October’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh with plenty of spin expected to be on show. 

Facing spin has been England’s weakness in recent series and while some may see the matches against Pakistan as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup, Knight believes her side needs to stay in the moment. 

She added: “We’ve got an eye on peaking at that tournament. 

“But something we were working on at our pre-season camp was on not looking too far ahead and staying present.  

“We cannot worry about what might happen so I’ll be encouraging the girls to focus on what we need to do on the pitch.  

“In terms of the matches, we’ll look to build confidence through winning and putting in performances and we’ll do that by staying in the moment.” 

Heather Knight was speaking on behalf of Metro Bank. Head to metrobankonline.co.uk/cricket where you can discover more about the Metro Bank Girls In Cricket Fund, and help to champion the future of girls’ cricket.

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