After a number of years in and out of the England set-up, Fran Wilson believes her recent performances against Pakistan have given her the confidence to thrive on the international stage, writes Adam Le Roux.
Wilson hit a personal best 85 not out from just 49 balls in the second ODI match in Kuala Lumpur, as England prepared for February’s 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup with a comprehensive tour victory in Malaysia, winning five out of six matches.
Lisa Keightley’s side head to the tournament in Australia having not won the title since 2009, with the hosts currently in possession of the trophy after their fourth success in 2018, beating England in the final.
Heading into the tournament, 28-year-old Wilson thinks her experience in Kuala Lumpur, as well as for the Hobart Hurricanes in the Women’s Big Bash League, has put her in good stead for another strong showing on the global stage.
“It’s given me a bit of confidence going into the tournament," the Kent Women star said. "When you have a performance for England like that it gives you the confidence to believe you can do it.
“I haven’t had loads of chances for England so it’s good to get out there and take the opportunity in front of me.
“The wickets are a lot different and it’s not something I really noticed as a younger player. Now I’m a bit older and have more experience playing in the Big Bash you notice how pitches play differently and how different bowlers come onto the bat differently.
“Australia are always a strong side, they have a lot of really good players and a lot of depth. But England are also very strong, and we have a lot of good players, we are definitely going into the World Cup believing we can win.”
After earning her maiden England call-up for the tour of Sri Lanka in 2010, it has been a long journey back to international selection for Wilson, who spent five years in the wilderness until a recall to the national team in 2016.
🚨 BREAKING NEWS 🚨— England Cricket (@englandcricket) January 17, 2020
First look at our @ICC Women’s T20 World Cup squad!
Plus, our summer 2020 fixtures revealed 🏏
And despite coming so close to selection, including being 12th woman for the 2014 Women’s World Twenty20 final, she overcame those setbacks to work her way back into consideration, culminating in 2017 World Cup success in the 50-over format.
And looking back now, Wilson believes it was that rejection that helped spur her on, and after taking time out to go travelling around New Zealand, she feels rejuvenated and ready to grasp her chance with both hands.
“I wouldn’t say it’s ever easy knowing how to deal with missing out on squads. As a player who has missed out on teams there is a period where you don’t even want to talk to people who are going to the tournaments because it is pretty hard,” added Wilson.
“It’s always frustrating at the time but looking back you always see value in that experience as well.
“If I hadn’t been left out of squads, I don’t think I would’ve been able to see the gaps in my game that I consequently saw and then was able to work on.
“It’s important to step back and get a bit of perspective on everything, but it’s also a really good opportunity to practice on your own and work on your own game and work with the coaches to develop.”