Nottinghamshire all-rounder Danielle Wyatt has dominated the domestic circuit this season. But when she has been thrust into the international arena, England have not known what to do with her.
She has been moved up and down the order and been out of the team as much as she has been in it since making her debut over five years ago.
She has opened, batted at six, four, then seven and most recently eight. Sometimes she bowls, sometimes not.
She hasn’t featured so far in this Ashes but now she has been called up, along with Danielle Hazell, for the three series-ending Twenty20 matches which, she is determined to take her chance.
“I had a difficult tour in Australia during the last Ashes series,” says Wyatt. “Every batter goes through that patch of bad form. It’s how you react to it after. I came back and I worked really hard. I got on to the tour to New Zealand but didn’t really get an opportunity to show them what I can do. I’ve now shown what I can do for Nottinghamshire – I guess I just have to take my chance when I get it again.”
Picked for only the final ODI of the five-match series in New Zealand, Wyatt did play all three T20s. However, she bowled just one over and didn’t bat, as she was left languishing down the order at No 8.
Her form in domestic cricket has seen her top the NatWest Women’s County T20 run charts, as one of only two players to hit a century. Her strike rate of 175 is far beyond anyone else’s.
England’s batting display in the only Test contained more dots than the Morse code as they lost by 161 runs – and conceded four points to go 8-2 down overall. To make up that deficit and retain the Ashes they must now win all three T20s.
With Wyatt’s form and explosiveness, could her talent have been harnessed more effectively over the years – and perhaps even in this series?
“If I had the choice I’d bat at five – somewhere in the middle order. I like to say that I can be attacking, clear the ropes and hit boundaries. I feel in a good place at the minute.”
Wyatt isn’t the only one whose role seems forever in flux. Hazell, the world’s leading bowler in the ICC T20 rankings, and England’s best spinner by the same standards in ODIs, is being dragged back into the fold only when England’s cause is almost lost.
Three days before the ODIs started, Hazell bowled out the world’s leading batter, Meg Lanning, for a four-ball duck in a warm-up match. There were jubilant scenes in the Australian camp when Hazell’s non-selection earlier in the series was announced.
Australia are T20 world champions three times in succession. In contrast, England failed to hit a six at the last T20 World Cup. There is no doubting that captain Charlotte Edwards is the most determined, hard-working and focused woman in England right now; if the Ashes could be retained through will-power alone, they would be in the bag already.
England arrive at fortress Chelmsford on Wednesday on the back of a nightmare Test but knowing they have never lost a match there. A win and they keep the series alive, but the momentum, and betting odds, are with Australia. The Ashes aren’t lost – yet.
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