England v West Indies: Alex Hartley relishes Hayley Matthews rivalry
|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)|
Alex Hartley will put friendship aside when England run into West Indies opener Hayley Matthews this week.
Last winter, Matthews' injury meant Hartley took her place as one of Hobart Hurricanes' overseas players in the Women's Big Bash League in Australia.
The Windies begin a three-match one-day international series against England in Leicester on Thursday.
"There's a little bit of rivalry - but she's one of the world's best players," spinner Hartley told BBC Sport.
- 'It could push cricket in this country to a new level' - Heather Knight column
- Taylor, Ecclestone and Gunn return to ODI squad
"It was unfortunate that Hayley got injured, but one person's misfortune is another person's opportunity, and it was fantastic to be involved.
"You learn an incredible amount in the Big Bash. Now I know Hayley as a person and a friend, but it gave me the opportunity to bowl at her and get her out in certain situations.
"I'm really looking forward to playing against her this summer."
A busy programme for England begins with the three West Indies ODIs which count towards the ICC Women's Championship table - where England are close to joining Australia in clinching automatic qualification for the 2021 World Cup.
After three Twenty20 internationals against the Windies, England then host holders Australia in the multi-format Women's Ashes series.
Dottin absence is huge blow for Windies
Last week, Matthews' unbeaten century helped West Indies to a 3-0 T20 series victory in Ireland.
England should present a sterner test for the Caribbean side, who won a thrilling World T20 group game at home in St Lucia in November when the sides last met.
But the Windies will be without their top scorer from that game, all-rounder Deandra Dottin, who will miss the entire tour after having shoulder surgery.
An aggressive right-hander capable of flogging any international attack around the park, and a dangerous pace bowler with a devastating yorker, Dottin's absence is a huge blow.
"We were quite pleased when we saw that headline that she wasn't playing," England seamer Kate Cross told BBC Sport.
"But playing devil's advocate, she's a great asset for the game. You want to see her doing well - if you're not bowling to her - and it's a shame for the women's game that she's not going to be over this summer."
Spinner Sophie Ecclestone, a team-mate of Cross and Dottin at Lancashire Thunder in the Super League, added: "She's obviously a big player and hits some big sixes, but they've still got a very good squad.
"They've got a few good players like Hayley Matthews. It'll be a great series and hopefully we can beat them."
A summer of familiar foes
Familiarity will be a theme of the summer, with many of the leading English, West Indian and Australian stars having played with or against each other in Twenty20 cricket.
Ecclestone, named as the International Cricket Council's emerging female cricketer of 2018, had the best economy rate of any bowler in the recent T20 Challenge in India which has helped build momentum towards a possible full women's Indian Premier League (IPL).
"It was amazing, being on a team with players like Stafanie Taylor," said Ecclestone, whose Trailblazers team-mates included Windies skipper Taylor and seamer Shakera Selman.
"It was very different to what I'm used to. I was out of my comfort zone and it was quite tough, but hopefully we'll get a women's IPL next year."
England opener Danni Wyatt, who also played in that series, told BBC Sport: "I think 17,000 people turned up for the final. The Indian fans love it; they're so passionate about cricket and you want to play in front of that crowd, screaming every time you hit a four or a six.
"I've just been playing with Hayley Matthews in India - we play against each other so much these days with all the different T20 leagues around the world.
"We know everyone's strengths and weaknesses, but what you want as a cricketer is to test yourself against the world's 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.