Katherine Brunt prepared to reach breaking point to join Commonwealth ‘gods’

Katherine Brunt relished her return to England’s Twenty20 team and admitted she is willing to reach breaking point if it means winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

The 37-year-old made only her second international appearance of the summer in the opening T20 match of the series against South Africa and returned career-best figures in the format of four for 15.

It helped restrict the tourists to 111 for nine, which was easily chased down with five overs to spare thanks to Sophia Dunkley’s rapid 59 off 39 balls.

England have wrapped up the multi-format series against South Africa by a 10-2 score with two T20s to spare, but the focus is already on the Birmingham Games, which get under way on July 29 and will see women’s cricket take centre stage at Edgbaston.

“I honestly feel like bar this game I have played one game this year and because I have had such a long build-up and a good amount of time off, I have hyped this series up a bit much, so it does feel great to be back,” Brunt admitted having last played a T20 for England back in January.

“Oh yeah, I don’t think anyone has stopped thinking about the Commonwealth Games from when we were first told we would be in.

“It sounds corny, but growing up watching people in the Olympics – I know it is not the Olympics, but it feels like the Olympics – with medals and people on podiums, I just adored those people and thought they were gods.

“To be like around those people and feel a part of what they are doing, who they are, that is what my dreams were made of and I never thought it would happen. It is quite weird and I am so grateful at the age I am to still be here and be a part of it.”

Brunt retired from Tests earlier this summer to concentrate on white-ball cricket but only played a single 50-over match in the recent series with South Africa.

After she starred in the opening sprint format tie of the summer for England, the veteran seamer is ready to get through a potentially gruelling fixture list.

If Heather Knight’s side are to win gold at the Commonwealth Games, they will play eight T20 ties during the next two and a half weeks, but Brunt is up for the challenge.

She added: “I am willing to do whatever it takes to play all of those eight games.

“I will give it everything I have got for every game, I will certainly not hold back, and I will have the gold medal in mind every single time. If it means I break at the end, I break, but I will certainly… it will take a lot for me to not be there.”

Two early scalps for Brunt at Chelmsford saw her reach 100 T20 wickets for England and she finished off with another double at the death to claim a first four-fer in the format.

Dunkley then blitzed a maiden half-century on her first outing at the top of the order, before captain Knight finished off proceedings with 24 not out with 30 balls remaining.

“I was stuck on 99 ODI wickets for quite a while and it was a bit of a thing. I was hoping and praying that would not happen again,” Brunt revealed.

“It was a milestone of mine. I felt like I can’t retire until I get these two wickets, no way, so I am really happy to be a part of that club and get it out the way.

“Sophia is brilliant, isn’t she, and I just love her to bits. She just gets better, doesn’t she?

“Some people might have doubted her in the beginning, but she has just got better and better and in each format. Today was wonderful to watch.”

Laura Wolvaardt was the lone shining light with 55 for South Africa, who saw the in-form Marizanne Kapp return home this week due to personal reasons with the Commonwealth Games on the horizon.

“Obviously she is a key player for us and she is in very good form at the moment,” Wolvaardt said.

“We just need some new players to step up and take the opportunity.”