England’s record-breaking fast bowler Katherine Brunt admitted to experiencing moments of self-doubt as she wrestles with when to retire and doing so on her own terms.
The 37-year-old signed off from Test cricket last month in an attempt to prolong a career in which she has already set new England benchmarks for most wickets in one-day internationals and Twenty20s.
Featuring in the upcoming Commonwealth Games has been a source of motivation for Brunt over the last couple of years and she is enticed by a T20 World Cup in South Africa that starts in just over six months.
While she is still an instrumental part of England’s white-ball sides, Brunt recognises she is nearing the end of her time in international cricket, leading to uncertainty in herself and her role.
Brunt told the PA news agency: “How long I have left is a thought I have most days. The things that have crept in the most in the last year have been the doubting my own ability and having no self-belief and no confidence in what I’m doing.
“You’re always questioning whether you’re good enough or whether you should still be around – ‘Am I making a fool of myself?’ – because some people outdo their stay. They don’t know when to go and I always want to retire on top, I didn’t want to be a washed-out cricketer playing average cricket.
“It’s always hard to be able to see that from the inside. In terms of a date, I honestly don’t know. My target was the Commonwealth Games but round the corner from that is the T20 World Cup and that’s hard to say ‘no’ to right now.
“I think I’ll see how these Games go, how I felt in it, how I measured up against the other teams and what the body’s like after and then go from there.”
Brunt has appeared in just one ODI and three T20s this summer but faces the possibility of five matches in a nine-day period at Edgbaston as cricket returns to the Commonwealth Games after a 24-year absence.
This marks the first time women have competed at the event and Brunt, who has won both limited-overs World Cups, is relishing the prospect of something new, even if an intensive programme – England have just completed a multi-format series against South Africa – leaves little room for manoeuvre.
She said: “The schedule looks insane. The Commonwealth Games is something like play-rest-rest-play-rest-play-rest-play-play. It’s not ideal but that’s the way it is.
“But this is a big deal. It will be the one and only one I’ll be a part of, it’s on home soil, it’s a really exciting concept that we get to win a medal.
“It’s practically the same thing as a World Cup and it will be just as hard and just as grand. It’s going to be no easy feat. But T20 cricket is random and anything can happen.”
Brunt believes she will be better equipped to handle the extra attention that will come England’s way after playing in front of a full house at Lord’s in a seminal 2017 World Cup final.
She added: “There’s not a person alive who doesn’t feel nervous or sick on the day, but I would say it brings out the best in us, for sure. The 2017 World Cup, that definitely helped a lot and we’ll know we’ll get that again here so it will be great.
“This will probably be even bigger because people from all walks of life will tune into this as well, it’s more supporting your country rather than the sport you love to watch.”