Amy Jones believes it is "hugely important" that England's Women's team excel on their current tour in New Zealand to lay a strong foundation for the "brilliant" schedule that lies ahead.
Central Sparks and Warwickshire star Jones is among the England squad now getting into full training in New Zealand having emerged from 14 days quarantine.
They will play three ODIs against the hosts, on February 23, 26 and 28, followed by three T20Is on March 3, 5 and 7.
A mouth-watering itinerary then awaits the Women’s World Cup holders with the New Zealand series launching the road towards another World Cup, the Ashes and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022.
“The schedule is the most packed it’s ever been which is really exciting,” Jones said.
“2022 will bring everything crammed into one year which is brilliant and we are already building towards that, so it’s hugely important that we do well out here in New Zealand. The Ashes and World Cup will be in Australia, in similar conditions, so this is a great experience for us to come and get some games under our belt.Amy Jones
“Coming to New Zealand is so good because, after the quarantine, there aren’t many restrictions, so we are very lucky to have that bit of normality. There will be crowds in for the games and we will play double-headers and it’s all really exciting. I know the girls just can’t wait to get out there on proper wickets and bat and bowl.
“For me, it was nice to have a short period at home after the Big Bash to work on technical stuff and refresh, so I’m feeling ready to go. After a long-haul flight, and then time in a hotel room, you can feel a bit uncoordinated when you first get out there, but it quickly came back after the first few hits which is good.”
Like everyone involved in international cricket this winter, Jones had had to grow accustomed to spells in quarantine this, on the current trip to New Zealand and in Australia before Christmas ahead of the Women’s Big Bash with Perth Scorchers.
“We spent 14 days in quarantine here, mostly in the hotel room, but had some exemptions so were able to and get out and train for two hours a day,” she said. “In Adelaide before the Big Bash we were in isolation and couldn’t even go out and walk, so we have been quite lucky here.
“Adelaide was pretty much the hotel room for 14 days so that was a challenge. It was a lot of thinking time. I just tried to be as well-prepared as possible and have things to entertain me. I did a lot of facetimes – that definitely helped.”
Quarantine over, Edgbaston product Jones is now in full training towards the coming series – and she is happy to have another Bear for company, Central Sparks team mate Issy Wong. The 18-year-old fast bowler is with the squad to gain experience in the national set up.
“Issy was about two doors down in quarantine and I could see here when she popped her head out. She has settled in really nicely and is great to have around the group. Everyone just loves the energy that she brings.Amy Jones
“She was in my training bubble when we were split into groups of four and she was getting back into bowling and I looked over and she was haring down. That’s the great thing about having young players around, especially someone like Issy who has bags of energy and just wants to learn and be the best she can be. She has settled in really nicely.”
2023 Ashes: Tickets on sale now
Edgbaston will host the first LV= Insurance Men’s Ashes Test Match against Australia from Friday 16 to Tuesday 20 June and a Women’s Ashes IT20 on Saturday 1 July.
Our Major Match programme will also include a Men’s Vitality IT20 against New Zealand on Sunday 3 September and Vitality Blast Finals Day.