Scorchers recruit Glenn details brush with COVID-19
Laid low for weeks, Sarah Glenn has since recovered to take her leg-spin to a new level ahead of WBBL|06
17 October 2020, 08:05 AM AEST
Perth Scorchers recruit Sarah Glenn has a unique insight into the necessity of the strict biosecurity measures that have been put in place to protect players during the upcoming Rebel WBBL.
Earlier this year, the 21-year-old leg-spinner was laid low for more than a month as she recovered from COVID-19, and she knows well the impact even a mild case can have on a fit, healthy professional athlete.
She caught the virus – she suspects while grocery shopping – in April, a month after returning to the United Kingdom following England’s semi-final exit from the T20 World Cup.
"I felt really ill and I texted my sister, who is a nurse, and asked what to do, and she told me to stay in my room," Glenn told cricket.com.au from Adelaide, where she is in hotel quarantine alongside 15 other players from England, South Africa and West Indies.
"I got worse but eventually got better and I had an antibody test later that came up positive.
"I’ve never been ill with something like that, it felt so different to anything I’d been ill with before.
"My temperature went high and I just had no energy, then I started to throw up and feel nauseous and I couldn’t really keep food down.
"I was ill for about a week … then I went to go for a walk and I just felt really out of breath.
"I had another week off and then I tried to do some running and I did really struggle, because it really effects your lungs.
"So, I built it up gradually. I had about a month completely off … (before) I felt like I was getting more energy, and then I just started to build up my gym and running and I was okay.
"(I see people) on social media saying it’s fine, it doesn’t affect youngsters … well I didn’t have a great time with it and I’m young and healthy."
Glenn’s main concern was that she did not pass the virus on to her parents, who she lives with in Derbyshire and who, fortunately, remained well.
Looking back, the leg-spinner is also grateful her brush with COVID came long before England’s sole international campaign of the northern summer, against West Indies last month.
Originally, England had been scheduled to play India in June, and South Africa in September, but when both teams pulled out, a T20 series against West Indies was hastily arranged.
"I had to have time off to build my fitness back up, so luckily it was pushed back and I felt like I had time to get fitter and prepare for those games," Glenn said.
Glenn was named player of the series in that 5-0 series sweep over the Windies, after capturing seven wickets at 12 with an economy rate of 5.6 - a performance that saw her break into the ICC's top 10 ranked T20I bowlers - and she displayed her all-round credentials with a score of 26 from 19 in the second game.
It continued what has been a breakout year for the spinner, who made her international debut against Pakistan in Malaysia last December before earning a spot in England’s T20 World Cup squad.
It was that first taste of playing in Australia during the ICC tournament that made the decision to accept an offer to play with the Perth Scorchers in WBBL|06 a no-brainer.
"I absolutely loved (playing in Australia), it was quite hard at first – one of my first games was against India and I realised quickly not to give too much width and that there’s not much room for bad balls, because it absolutely flies out here," Glenn recalled.
"It’s a really good place to bat and I learnt the hard way to start with.
"But once I knew what worked well for me and my game I really enjoyed it."
The chance to reunite with new Scorchers captain Sophie Devine, who played alongside Glenn at Loughborough in England’s Super League, was another key factor.
"(The Scorchers) got in touch while we were training in Derby and I was like ‘yes definitely I want to get out there!’,” Glenn continued.
"It’s a bit of a different environment for me coming into a team with a lot of people who I haven’t met yet and working with some new coaches.
"I feel like it’s going to be a good experience for me, I obviously want to do well in (the WBBL) but it’s also a real learning curve for me.
"I’m quite young still and feel like I’ve got a lot to learn to develop my game."
A talented athlete, Glenn also excelled at hockey before she was forced to choose between her two sports at age 18.
Inspired after watching Heather Knight lead England to an ODI World Cup title in front of a sell-out crowd at Lord’s in 2017, she decided her future lay in cricket.
"When I watched that game, it really hit me that cricket meant a lot to me and I wanted to have that feeling," she said.
"That was the tipping point (where I realised) that’s what I wanted to do."
The prospect of two weeks in hotel quarantine was not enough to deter Glenn from signing on for her maiden Big Bash season, although she admitted she was relishing the thought of returning to the nets once released on Sunday ahead of her flight to the WBBL Village in Sydney the following day.
"When we heard about the quarantine I did think being stuck in a hotel room for two weeks could be really difficult, but they’ve been really good at organising the set-up for us," Glenn, who has had access to a treadmill, assault bike and weights in her room, said.
"But I’m getting to the point where I’m just itching to get out of this room and have a net."
When she does finally meet her new Scorchers teammates in person, she will be able to offer her own advice on handling life in a hub, after England’s training camps and matches against the West Indies were all played inside a strict bio-secure bubble in Derby.
While WBBL players will be able to leave the Sydney Olympic Park ‘Village’ for exercise, the England and Windies squads were confined to a hotel that was part of the ground where the series was played.
"I feel I’m probably quite prepared and will be used to it," Glenn said.
"It will be a nice chance for me to meet everyone too, so I’m just seeing it as a positive really."