Nat Sciver’s leadership hailed as she continues to deputise for Heather Knight

·3-min read
Sciver will continue to stand in for Heather Knight in the Vitality T20 series against India (Getty Images)
Sciver will continue to stand in for Heather Knight in the Vitality T20 series against India (Getty Images)

England all-rounder Alice Capsey has hailed the calming influence of stand-in skipper Nat Sciver as she continues to lead her country in Heather Knight’s absence.

Knight is recovering from hip surgery, meaning Sciver will continue to carry the baton in the Vitality T20 series against India starting on Saturday.

Eighteen-year-old Capsey has played all seven of her international appearances on Sciver’s watch, having debuted against South Africa immediately after Knight’s injury and earned a spot in the Commonwealth Games side.

And she has no doubt that the team are in the best possible hands.

“Nat’s obviously very experienced, a great cool and calm person to be around for a youngster like me,” she said.

“It was amazing to play under her captaincy in the South Africa series and the Commonwealths and I’m really looking forward to being around her again. She brings that level of composure that, as a younger player, it is really comforting to be around.

“You always know there is someone you can go to or talk to and get a rational answer. I’ve learned so much just from being around, it’s really exciting to have her as a leader in the group and see how she goes about things.”

Both players had memorable campaigns in The Hundred, Capsey winning the title for the second year in a row with Oval Invincibles and playing a starring role in the final, while Sciver was named tournament MVP following a fine camaign with Trent Rockets.

The competition gave the England squad an immediate chance to get over an underwhelming conclusion to the Games in Birmingham, where this month’s opponents beat them in the semi-final before another defeat in the Bronze medal match against New Zealand.

“We’ve had the disappointment of the Commonwealths but we’re parking it and putting all our focus into the India series,” said Capsey.

“We’re really motivated. It’s a really exciting series that presents a lot of challenges along the way, we have to adapt and overcome. We lost in the Commonwealth Games, however that was a few weeks ago, we come off The Hundred with a fresh start, a new series and all to play for.”

Capsey was a breakout star of the inaugural Hundred, coming to the fore with some standout performances while still a GCSE student, but has had to cope with a bigger target on her back this time.

With eight wickets and 118 runs at a strike-rate of 142.16, she coped well with a spotlight that is only going to intensify as her international career takes off.

“Obviously last year no-one really knew who I was and coming into this year I noticed a bit more planning about how to get me out and how to face me,” she said.

“But that’s all part of the challenge of coming into professional cricket and playing in those tournaments. It was a challenge for me to adapt my game.

“Form is such a precious thing and you have to look after it, as a batter especially. I was probably struggling at the beginning of the season with South East Stars, not putting in performances I would have liked.

“The turning point was getting picked for the South Africa series. Since then I’ve been trying to look after my form as much as possible.”