Commonwealth Games 2022
Rejuvenated England brush off Ashes, World Cup scars
A new-look England, with teen breakout star Alice Capsey firing them along, is eyeing the chance for revenge on their Aussie conquerors at the Comm Games
Laura Jolly in Birmingham
3 August 2022, 01:46 PM AEST
A rejuvenated and new-look England believe they have brushed off the battle scars of their Ashes and World Cup defeats, as they set their sights on upsetting gold medal favourites Australia at the Commonwealth Games.
England are unbeaten this northern summer, having won all six white-ball matches they played against South Africa in the lead-up to the Games before kicking off their tournament with back-to-back wins, first over Sri Lanka and then, again, South Africa.
Their past four T20I wins have come without injured skipper Heather Knight, with England buoyed by a new opening combination of Danni Wyatt and Sophia Dunkley, and the arrival of 17-year-old Alice Capsey, who has hit 25, 44 and 50 in her three international innings to date.
"There's a lot of different personnel and I think a bit of a different attitude as well," England stand-in skipper Natalie Sciver said of the changes between the side that went winless in the Ashes then lost the one-day World Cup final to Australia in April, and the current T20 group.
"It does feel like a bit of a new cycle a little bit. I think when you have got a new cycle, new people it doesn't always gel as quickly as it has, but we're in a good place at the minute."
Capsey is one of two 17-year-olds in England's T20I XI at these Games, alongside left-arm seamer Freya Kemp, while 20-year-old speedster Issy Wong is another to have debuted in the last month.
Of those, it is allrounder Capsey who has looked the most immediately at home at the highest level, becoming the youngest England player to score a T20I half-century with her 37-ball 50 on Tuesday.
Sporting a black eye – the result of a mishap that occurred during England's warm-up ahead of their tournament opener against Sri Lanka – Capsey spoke with a maturity that belied both her age and her 10-day international career as she reflected on her latest achievement on Tuesday.
"It's lovely to kind of get that milestone out of the way and it was more (about) just building a platform to then allow myself and anyone else who's coming in after to really push on and play the explosive and brave way that we want to play," Capsey said.
"I was pretty gutted (to go out straight after) especially as I'd middled it, but I was taking the positive option and that's the message that's been put into me while I've been in the England camp, which fits my style of play, and it's great to have that responsibility."
Capsey's next challenges will see her take on her toughest opponents to date, with the final group match against New Zealand to come on Thursday before a semi-final that is likely to be against either Australia or India.
Capsey was part of the England A women's squad that toured Australia in January, and while she started brightly to score 44 in the opening game against Australia A, fell away for the remainder of the 20-over and 50-over games.
But the teenager said her grounding playing overseas stars in front of large crowds in The Hundred last season would put her in good stead.
"They're the games that you want to be a part of, playing against the best countries," she said.
"The Hundred was a great competition for me to experience the crowds, it was amazing today (against South Africa) and obviously you have the nerves of playing for England, but it also feels quite normal. You want those nerves because you know it means something.
"We've got a youngish squad with the likes of Wongy (Issy Wong) and Eccles (Sophie Ecclestone), it's good fun and it's high energy in the changing room at the moment."
2022 Commonwealth Games
Australia's squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Amanda-Jade Wellington
Group A: Australia, India, Pakistan, Barbados
Group B: England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka
Semi-finals: August 6, 11am local (8pm AEST) and 6pm local (3am Aug 7 AEST)
Bronze medal match: August 7, 10am local (7pm AEST)
Gold medal match: August 7, 5pm local (2am Aug 8 AEST)
All matches played at Edgbaston Stadium