Katherine Sciver-Brunt: ‘When you give it all you’ve got, all your emotions are raw’

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Sciver-Brunt, the most prolific bowler in English women’s cricket, retired from her international career on Friday after 19 years, ruling her out of the Women’s Ashes home series from next month. In reality, she would have only been available for selection in the T20 leg of the multi-format series, having announced almost a year ago that she was quitting Tests and playing what would be her final ODI on the South African tour by England at Northampton. July.

She never officially announced she was quitting the Over-50s format, as she didn’t want to relive the experience of her Test exit only to have to do it all over again when she pulled out altogether. But after also retiring from regional cricket for this season and announcing that the T20 World Cup in February in South Africa would be her last, and noting that she had been asked what she still had to achieve in “every interview in recent times, Sciver-Brunt has made peace with the fact that few players end their careers on a huge high on the field.

Now what remains is the Women’s Hundred in August and a recent media event for a tournament that epitomizes the massive changes she’s endured over a long and decorated career allowed Sciver-Brunt to reflect on how she wanted to leave the world. international stage.

“I would like to be remembered as one of England’s biggest competitors,” Sciver-Brunt told ESPNcricinfo. “And I would like people to think that I was very consistent, that I gave everything I had in the way I played and the way I did, that I was a fighter… just did what it took and gave everything I could have is the most important thing.

“I think any cricketer who’s had a long career or played international cricket would probably want to go out with a bang. It’s probably the thing that’s best on your mind I think. You have to fight with yourself about whether that matters is whether that matters because you just hope people remember the legacy you left behind, or the things you did, or how good you were in your career when you were at your best, that’s important to me. that I’ve had to compromise with myself that going out with a bang isn’t important. What’s important is the things I’ve done and how I contribute, playing games or winning for England.”

The emergence of women’s international franchise cricket has been the biggest positive change in Sciver-Brunt’s career, which began with a test against New Zealand in 2004 and spanned 267 international matches in which she claimed a total of 335 wickets in various formats. Her 170 wickets from ODIs and 114 in T20Is were both record hauls for her country and she took a further 51 in 14 Test appearances.

Sciver-Brunt was not picked up in the inaugural WPL auction, where her wife and England teammate Nat was the joint highest-earning foreign pick, going to Mumbai Indians for £320,000.

“The money thrown around in the WPL will be life-changing amounts of money for many girls and women in our game and hopefully that can only get bigger and bigger and encourage all other franchises to raise their paychecks,” Katherine Sciver-Brunt said. “That then not only creates a career while you’re playing, but also enough security to protect your life outside of the game if you find yourself moving forward with not many options.

“That’s an absolutely stunning change and hopefully it’s growing year on year and obviously that will have a knock-on effect on participation and diversity in the sport.”

But the growth in the women’s game has also been overwhelming at times, as both Sciver-Brunts found first hand last year when they took time out of play shortly after England’s disappointing fourth-place finish at their home Commonwealth Games. Nat’s absence for mental health and wellbeing reasons was more publicly noticed when she had to leave a training camp in England after a few days. Katherine says she took time out for the same reasons, but as she was older and more experienced she had called before the England squad met in Durham ahead of the Indian tour in September as she didn’t feel the same guilt about “disappointing people” “.

“I just chose not to tour, I couldn’t convince her to stay,” Katherine Sciver-Brunt recalled. “I’m at the point and I think adulthood in my life where I know my presence there is actually less helpful to them because I’m there, but I’m not there mentally, when she could only see the people they let. down bit and not the fact that staying behind would help them more.

“We both went through a rough time. We had an incredibly busy schedule that year, a bit unprecedented actually from when I started playing, and obviously that will be the future of cricket which needs to be managed very carefully. It’s just went to show what can happen if we have to do too much… I think it’s given the ECB the knowledge they need about the planning and how best to go about that and how to make the most of their being able to get the best players was good for everyone.”

“Living out of a suitcase for 11 months a year is extremely difficult,” she added. “Trying to build a career outside of cricket or start a family really doesn’t exist. Also just the tour life and just having to go again and again without that grieving period if you will is what I call it because you lose a tournament like a Commonwealth Games and you end up where you absolutely didn’t expect to end up there’s no time to get over that there’s two days and you’re off to the next tournament it’s like luggage you just carry it and it wears to the point where you take a break in September because you’ve had enough, but that limits your chances of making money in other ways because you just can’t.

“There are always ups and downs, isn’t it? It’s about learning from them because this is new to us now. We’re learning how to deal with that and get the best out of ourselves and play our best cricket for our country .”

Just as she expresses her desire to always give her best for her country, Katherine Sciver-Brunt has made no secret of the fact that she expects the same from her teammates. During what turned out to be her last game for England, the T20 World Cup semi-final loss to South Africa, former teammate Alex Hartley criticized her while commenting on the match for BBC Test Match Special for being on the ground batted and gestured to a teammate amid a spate of fouls. Sciver-Brunt also received an official reprimand and a point penalty for using an audible obscenity when she dropped a catch at Deepti Sharma during England’s Commonwealth Games semi-final loss to India.

“Ultimately it’s international cricket,” says Sciver-Brunt. “This isn’t village cricket, club cricket, which I grew up playing in Yorkshire, which was pretty ferocious and probably where I learned most of my, you know, antics growing up. But it’s like I said, it’s international cricket and it’s serious this is professional we get paid for it but when you’re out there expressing yourself and giving absolutely everything you’ve got all your emotions are raw.

“Unless you’re out there doing what we do, you can’t possibly imagine what it feels like and what it takes to become someone who can do the things we do. You have to control some of the emotions, especially if you’re the type like I. We’re all not very assassins and patient like Natalie. We’re all a little red mist and a warrior like me. So I’d say 99% of the time I’m in control of that and sometimes it overflows in a passionate way , never in a malicious way and my teammates know that and that’s the most important thing.

“Whether it is understood by the rest of the world is another matter and people always have their comments. But as long as my heart is in the right place and my teammates know what it is and where it comes from, that’s all. ” Affairs.”

Valkerie Baynes is Editor in Chief of Women’s Cricket at ESPNcricinfo

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