Fresh from a very different looking Women’s Big Bash League, Warwickshire’s Amy Jones returns to the UK from her third stint with Perth Scorchers, who reached the semi-finals of the condensed tournament.
Jones became accustomed to quarantine life, admits it took some getting used to, whilst discussing that bubble-life is not for everyone.
Although an injury side-lined her after her second game, she did return ready for the semi-final, where they were beaten by runners-up Melbourne Stars. Regardless of that result not going their way, she speaks very highly of her opportunity to play cricket in some very turbulent times.
‘’This was my third year playing for Perth Scorchers, which has always been amazing and knowing all the girls and coaches is a massive bonus for me in a familiar environment. Unfortunately, I then got injured after playing in the second game of the tournament and missed seven games but came back for the semi-final, which didn’t go our way on the night, but it was still a great experience.’’
There is no doubt that proceedings this year were slightly different in the WBBL, with all the teams and background staff located in one hub in Sydney, and the tournament being condensed, with 59 matches in a 34-day period. With Jones having being part of England’s training bubble in Loughborough she is no stranger to the new ways of cricket and Covid guidelines but commentated on how one of the biggest challenges about the WBBL was being part of the bubble in Sydney.
‘’Coming over from England was difficult with quarantining before the start of the tournament, which was definitely a challenge, but then the biggest challenge for me was getting away from cricket in the hub.’’Amy Jones
‘’The whole thing was put on brilliantly by Cricket Australia, but I struggled to get away from the game, have some downtime especially being on the sides with injury and the full-on schedule. I think it was quite hard to be surrounded by all the cricketers, and it did become a bit draining as well. It was great to see everyone, but having to be sociable all day everyday takes its toll on you and having to keep focused on cricket, but also take some time away became hard.’’
Concerns around hubs, and bio-secure bubbles are coming to light at the moment, as Tom Banton and Tom Curran both have withdrawn from the men’s Big Bash in order to have some down time. This highlights a very important issue, even though it is amazing to see cricket back, it does come at a cost sometimes, and ultimately players health and well-being is paramount.
When professional cricket began its return in the UK, Jones was able to play for the West Midlands Regional side, Central Sparks in the Rachel Heyhoe-Flint Trophy before joining the England Women, which was an opportunity she relished.
‘’I loved being part of Sparks for the short while. It was brilliant to get back to Edgbaston, where I grew up and play our first two home games and seeing all the age group and county girls. All of us England girls want to play domestic cricket, it’s great fun for us and a new and different environment for us, seeing the young potential talent coming through and watching the standard improve in women’s cricket as we close down that gap.’’
Although, the England international’s cricket takes her all over the world, Warwickshire always remains at the heart of her development and she recognises the expectational support that she received at Edgbaston.
‘’Warwickshire have been a huge support, right back from age groups when I first played for them. I have always been lucky in terms of pathway coaching and all the extras; they really did invest in a lot of time in me.Amy Jones
“Warwickshire have always been really supportive of women’s cricket, and I don’t think I would reach where I have today without that vital support they gave me including all the coaching, playing opportunities and development, to be instrumental in me progressing to the England side.’’
Forgetting about bubbles and quarantining for a second time, Jones said that she ‘’just can’t wait to get on the pitch for England again, wherever our next tour may be, we are raring to go after making great strides on and off the pitch this summer.’’
Covid cricket is something very different, and Amy Jones can vouch that those challenges can be very difficult, but cricket is her passion and to the play the sport she loves remains her top priority whichever way that comes.
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