Warwickshire academy graduate Issy Wong took time out of training with Central Sparks to embark on her first England overseas tour.

After being picked to be part of the training squad for England last July in the Loughborough bubble, the 18-year-old grabbed the opportunity to get her first taste of an England tour to further her development.

‘’I got a phone call when driving home from training, and it was about England girls going over to New Zealand and then I was told I wouldn’t be in the squad. But then they said they were going to take as part of a developmental tour for me to get that experience overseas and see how it works and I was thrilled.’’

‘’I was trying to develop myself as much as possible in training and then just be as useful as I could on match days, as it was developmental playing wasn’t on my radar but for my first overseas tour, I thought that worked well personally.’’

Issy Wong

There is no denying that an international cricket can be a pressure cooker so the chance to develop and grow her game was a chance that Wong was highly positive about.

‘’I got so much out of the experience, recently I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself getting selected for various things, but I am only 18 and I need to remember I am not complete yet as some may expect. It was just really nice to go out there and train and have no pressure, I could think I don’t need to be fantastic just perform or train better than I did yesterday, going out with the no expectations was really helpful.’’

‘’It was always developmental, I loved having no pressure in training or on the tour for selection. I could put everything into my development and becoming a better player and part of the team, and it was incredibly useful for me as a player and also part of that England set up.’’

‘The girls were all amazing to me and so welcoming and that made the experience incredible, its different away from home so it was nice to not have the pressure and just be part of the group.’’

A first international series is a special moment in every player’s career, and especially at such a young age for the pace bowler. There is lots of different things to learn or experience but Wong had one aspect of the tour that she will not forget in a hurry.

‘’Signing the national anthem for the first time was actually really special and realising that this is what it is like to represent your country. It is not always about playing for yourself, and whilst it’s about the whole country it’s mainly for those 15 girls stood next to you and that was a really powerful moment for me, I felt so fortunate.’’