by Will Jackson (PA for ECB)
Lauren Winfield enjoyed a breakthrough summer for England Women in 2014 as the team bounced back from a disappointing start to finish on a high. England lost the Kia Test to India but responded in magnificent style to claim the subsequent Royal London One-Day Series 2-0 and then beat South Africa 3-0 in a trio of NatWest T20 Internationals.
Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk, Yorkshire captain Winfield said the comeback bodes well for the future.
“We learnt a lot from the defeat and took that quite heavily in the Test match,” she said. “Obviously to come back in the ODIs was very promising and to continue that success through to the T20s meant that we finished the summer really strongly, which sets us up nicely for the winter and the New Zealand tour in February.”
Winfield’s form mirrored the progress of the team as a whole. The 24-year-old made increasingly important contributions as the summer went on, culminating in an international best of 74 in the final T20 against South Africa at Edgbaston.
Reflecting on that knock, Winfield said: “That was the innings I’ve been working towards, making significant contributions to help to win the game. It gives me great confidence to know that I’ve made that score and had that impact so I’ve just got to replicate that. My job now is to make significant contributions and help win games for England. I was given a little bit more responsibility this summer. I made a few starts early on and eventually was making more significant contributions which on an individual basis means I finished the summer on a positive note really.”
Winfield was quick to praise the influence of her opening partner Charlotte Edwards who enjoyed another prolific summer as captain of England, passing 50 four times in a row and posting an unbeaten century in the last completed game with India.
Talking about the final T20 against South Africa, Winfield said: “I probably learnt a bit from Lottie’s innings in the previous game when we were in a similar situation and losing wickets in clusters – someone has got to take responsibility. I learnt from her innings that the longer you bat the easier it gets and the more fluently you score. If you want to get a defendable score someone has to do that and fortunately I took on that role and it paid off.”
As far as Winfield is concerned, the England team is on the up after a productive year which has seen a number of players step up to take on vital roles within the side.
She added: “It was good to see Heather Knight come into the bowling attack in a role she’s not familiar. Her figures speak for themselves. Sarah (Taylor) had another fantastic year behind the stumps and Charlotte Edwards leading from the front, setting the high standards like she does, gives us great confidence ahead of the New Zealand tour. We know people are contributing in different areas, not just one or two people and it’s getting more and more each time we play.”