Alex Hartley is unlikely to ever forget 2017 and her part in England’s emotional World Cup triumph at Lord’s.
Yet it could have been so different had the 24 year-old given up the game after struggling earlier in her career. In 2011 the left-arm orthodox spinner from Clitheroe was the second girl, after Kate Cross, to be selected for the Lancashire Academy, having already made her Red Rose debut as a 14-year-old in 2008. The following year brought selection for the England Academy at 15 and in 2010 she took 25 wickets for Lancashire, but a loss of form and being subsequently dropped from both Academies led to Alex considering her future in the game.
A move south in 2013 to play for Middlesex in Division One in search of a fresh start proved decisive and gradually her form returned. It led to a return to the England Academy setup in 2014 and Alex impressed on a pre-season Academy tour to the UAE in 2015 with two four-wicket hauls against Australia A. That led to further England Academy games during 2015 before Alex finally realised her dream of playing for the England Women’s team, first inspired by attending an England men’s game at Emirates Old Trafford when she was 14. That international debut arrived in 2016 at Taunton in the 3rd ODI against Pakistan and Alex gained further selection for the West Indies tour where she took seven wickets in the two ODIS and six in the ICC Women’s Championship games.
So to last year, and the World Cup where Alex played an important role in England’s success, her 10 wickets, including two vital wickets in the final, were just two less than Anya Shrubsole’s team-leading twelve. Then it was on to Australia where Alex played in all three ODIs and a T20 in the drawn series. Further England honours await on the forthcoming tour to India in March/April to add to the 20 ODIs and two international T20s played so far.
2018 sees Alex join Lancashire Thunder after playing for Surrey Stars previously, although she returned to north last season to play three games for the Lancashire Women’s team ahead of the World Cup.