England bowler Issy Wong says this summer is a "great time" to play Australia in the Ashes, despite their recent dominance of the women's game.
England, who have not won the Women’s Ashes since 2015, host this summer’s multi-format series from 22 June. Australia have also won the last four World Cups across all formats.
Edgbaston will host the first IT20 of the series on Saturday 1 July (6.30pm start) and over 15,500 tickets have already been sold as a record crowd is expected in Birmingham.
Speaking to BBC Sport, Wong said Australia are the “best team in history” but “it’s a really good time to go at them and see if you’re as good as you were five years ago”.
“It’s a pretty good time to play them, you know, just quietly,” 20-year-old Wong added.
Australia did not lose a match when they hosted the last Ashes series in early 2022 and have since won the 50 and 20-over World Cups, plus gold in the Commonwealth Games last summer.
Captain Meg Lanning took a break for personal reasons last year, returning to lead her side impressively to victory in the T20 World Cup in February, while vice-captain Rachael Haynes retired from internationals last September.
“I think they’re one of the greatest sports teams in history, of any sport, of any gender,” said Wong, who has never played against Australia. Their record over the last 10 years is absolutely outrageous.
“It feels like that kind of golden era they’ve had is you know… you’ve Rach Haynes retiring, we’ve had Lanning stepping away, obviously coming back in ridiculous form, but there’s a lot of new faces in that group that are unbelievably talented but haven’t necessarily played the biggest part for them over the last couple of years.
Australia’s T20 World Cup win earlier this year was the sixth time they have won the tournament in the past seven editions and third in a row.
“It’s a really good time to actually go at them and say, ‘right, you are the best team in history, but you’ve a couple of new faces in here and let’s see if you’re as good as you were five years ago’.”
Wong has played with and against many of this summer’s opponents in The Hundred, and when she starred in the Women’s Premier League (WPL) in India last month.
Wong plays in the Hundred for Birmingham Phoenix where she will again be a team-mate of Australia’s all-rounder Ellyse Perry later this summer.
“You’ve played against these guys so much that you kind of get to know them and not necessarily even know their games, but you know, they’re humans at the end of the day and humans do good things and humans do bad things,” she said.
Wong was left out of England’s squad for this year’s World Cup as Heather Knight’s side were beaten in the semi-finals.
But during the tournament Wong was signed by Mumbai Indians for the inaugural WPL season and was the leading wicket-taker among pace bowlers with 15 as Mumbai won the title.
Asked if she went to India trying to prove a point, Wong said: “I think so. I’m always going to be my number one fan. I think I should be starting up front for Liverpool. Should I? No. But at the end of the day there’s nothing I can do about that.
“They picked their squad and unfortunately for me this time I wasn’t in those plans and I probably had a half hour of sulking, or not sulking but feeling sorry for myself, liking my wounds, then I had to get up and go to training.”
Wong added: “I think I was keen to show the progress I’d made, not necessarily that I should have been out there [at the World Cup] because if I’d picked the squad, I’d have been out there and probably my 14 best mates would have been because that’s just how I’d pick the squad, isn’t it?
“But it was very much a show of the progress that I’d made over the last four months and hopefully the potential of progress that I’ve got for the future.”
Over 75% sold for Women’s Ashes IT20
For the first time, Edgbaston will host a Women’s Ashes IT20 as the oldest rivalry in cricket returns to Birmingham – and over 15,500 tickets have already been sold!
Watch local stars including Amy Jones and Issy Wong in action as we make history on Saturday 1 July, 6.30pm start. Tickets are available from only £17 for adults and under 16s £5.