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Hartley focused on KSL success with Thunder

Hartley focused on KSL success with Thunder

"We've got an incredibly strong team": Alex Hartley

Alex Hartley is aiming to end a frustrating summer in style with Lancashire Thunder.

Hartley was overlooked for senior England honours, including the Ashes, instead restricted to England Academy appearances against the touring Australians and their A side.

The effervescent left-arm spinner has admitted she found it hard to watch the Ashes, but has now thrown herself into the Kia Super League and will play against her former side Surrey Stars at Guildford tomorrow (Thursday, 2.30pm).

The 2017 World Cup winner said: “It’s been a long summer being out of the England team. 

“Watching the girls play in the Ashes was hard work, so I’m looking forward to a few weeks of competitive cricket.

“It’s been incredibly frustrating because I’ve been sat on the sidelines confident that I could have made the difference.

“I’m glad it’s all over and delighted to have got going in the Super League. I can understand it (the reasons for being left out) to a certain degree.

“They believe somebody else has been bowling better than me, but I feel like I’ve been bowling as well as I did in 2017 when we won the World Cup.

“I’ve just had to take it on the chin.”

Hartley, 25, believes she isn’t the only England player with a point to prove in this year’s KSL.

“We haven’t had the summer we want as an England group, but we’re glad it’s over and can concentrate on a competition we all love playing in,” he said.

“And, as an England team, this experience is only going to make us better and stronger.

“Mark Robinson (England coach) will be looking at the KSL for his next group of players and for the World T20 in February.”

One silver lining in playing for the England Academy was that she was able to do a scouting mission on her new Thunder team-mate Tahlia McGrath, the all-rounder who impressed whilst playing for Australia A.

In yesterday’s opening-day defeat against Southern Vipers at Liverpool, in which Hartley claimed two wickets, McGrath briefly showcased her power with two big sixes in 28 off 20 balls from number three in the order.

“Tahlia’s an incredible signing,” she said.

“We didn’t actually know we could sign her at the start because she’s only played one Test match. But that qualifies her for a visa.

“I’ve been playing against her recently, and she’s an incredible player. She hit three fifties on the bounce and hit some massive sixes.

“I actually text Kate (Cross, captain) and said, ‘Mate, I think you need to get Tahlia up the order!’

“She’s not played a great deal of international cricket, but people will soon be talking about her because of the way she strikes the ball.”

The 10-game group stage allows sides to start slowly as they chase a top three finish for Finals Day, and the Thunder remain confident despite the Vipers defeat.

Hartley added: “We’ve got an incredibly strong team. We’ll have setbacks here and there - every side does - but I’m confident that we’ll get the job done.”

Ahead of the clash with champions Surrey, who won their opener against Yorkshire at Emerald Headingley last night, Thunder coach Mark McInnes said: “It wasn’t the start we were after.

“There were patches where we played really well, but we probably gave away a few too many four balls.

“We also probably got a bit behind it in the power play, so we might look at our batting order. We’ll learn from this and be back.”

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