Heather Knight column: 'Groundbreaking summer could push cricket in this country to a new level'

Heather Knight
West Indies women in England
Venues: Leicester, Worcester, Chelmsford, Northampton, Derby Dates: 6-25 June
Coverage: In-play highlights clips, ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary and live text commentary on all games on the BBC Sport website & app (some games also on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)

It's set to be one of the biggest ever summers for cricket in this country with the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, the men's Ashes and our Ashes coming up over the next few months. If all goes well, it could be a groundbreaking summer for the game and push cricket in this country to a new level.

We're desperate to play our part in making it a success, with a series against West Indies kicking off on Thursday at Leicester, followed by the Aussies in July.

We've had a good run of it of late, finishing our seven-week subcontinent tour with 10 wins on the bounce, which was particularly pleasing as we had to test the depth of the squad with a few injuries kicking about.

That depth is going to be really important in a busy summer and hopefully we can take the momentum from the winter into Thursday's game. We'd love to see lots of you at our games this summer, getting behind us.

With the Men's World Cup starting last week, it brings back all the memories I felt leading into our tournament on home soil in 2017. The excitement, the nerves, the feeling of just wanting to get your teeth stuck into the cricket in the build-up to the tournament.

We also had a few injury scares in the warm-up games as the men's team did, and lost a match early doors - hopefully the parallels don't end there.

That World Cup period was a very special time for me and all of the girls, and I wish 'Morgs' and the team all the very best for the tournament.


Katherine Brunt
England pace bowler Katherine Brunt is one of the "World Beaters" in the BBC's #ChangeTheGame campaign - watch her story on the BBC iPlayer

When people ask me what I'll be watching and listening to this summer, I won't be straying too far from the sports channels!

Outside cricket, there's so much women's sport on the horizon, with the women's football World Cup (Danni Wyatt has already got the sticker book!) and the Netball World Cup.

The netball final is on the same day as we're scheduled to finish our four-day Test against Australia at Taunton. You never know, there could be two England teams up against the Aussies on the same day.

The BBC has launched their brilliant #ChangeTheGame campaign to keep pushing women's sport forward in terms of coverage with all that is going on in the next few months, so get involved! The video they've made around Katherine Brunt is amazing.

It's also been great to hear the language around sport changing, so that it's not just "sport" and then "women's sport", it's "men's sport" and "women's sport". It's a really small change in language but trust me, it makes a big difference!

So hearing people like Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola say they are the first men's team to do a domestic treble because the women have done it first, gets a big thumbs-up from me!

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First domestic treble? 'The women have done it' - Guardiola

Pride of Oman and Heather's Pride

I had a lovely afternoon meeting the Oman women's cricket team a few weeks ago, running a coaching masterclass which was a lot of fun. They were playing some tour games against county teams and it was really interesting hearing their story and how the game is flourishing for them back home.

I also managed to squeeze in a bit of tennis with Joe Root as part of a filming day for a sponsor. It's fair to say I was more of a squash girl growing up…

Also, I had a lot of fun picking the winners of our Heather's Pride competition recently. The ECB launched a competition on International Women's Day to find 11 girls to come and train with us over the summer and the entries were just the most amazing thing. One girl did a rap! She had to get in.

It was so sweet, they all sent in clips telling me why they should come and train with us, lots of them did a bit of bowling in the video, and it was inspiring to see how many girls want to play our sport.

I can't wait to host them at a training session and start their journey towards representing us one day (hopefully!).

Heather Knight speaks to the Oman women's team
As well as playing five matches on their tour, the Oman women's team also visited Lord's to watch the One-Day Cup final between Somerset and Hampshire

West Indies build-up

With our internationals not starting until June, it's been great to play a lot of county cricket in the build-up and, personally, to have put in some strong performances.

We've also played a lot of internal England squad friendlies and games against boys' county academy teams to help us get the best preparation, and we're more than ready to get the summer started.

We named our squad on Tuesday, reported for duty and did everything like headshots etc. Obviously the rain had to try and spoil things! Our first game is at Leicester on Thursday and we can't wait to get going.

First things first - we need two wins to secure qualification for the 2021 ICC Women's World Cup in New Zealand. That's aim number one, but we know West Indies are supremely talented so we'll need to be at our best.

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women's sport available to watch across the BBC this summer, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women's sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.