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Heather Knight hopes her England team can become ‘world leaders’

Heather Knight has high hopes for her England team (Aaron Chown/PA)
Heather Knight has high hopes for her England team (Aaron Chown/PA)

Returning England captain Heather Knight hopes her side can become “world leaders” by putting their own spin on the attacking revolution which has transformed the men’s Test team.

Knight has recovered from a lengthy lay-off after hip surgery to lead this month’s white-ball tour of the West Indies, a trip that will form the first chapter of her partnership with new head coach Jon Lewis.

Lewis worked as fast bowling coach alongside Brendon McCullum last summer as he and Stokes radically overhauled a tired approach to red-ball cricket, with increasingly eye-catching results. Now Lewis and Knight plan to find a similarly proactive identity of their own.

Jon Lewis has taken over as head coach of the women's team after a stint as men's bowling lead.
Jon Lewis has taken over as head coach of the women’s team after a stint as men’s bowling lead (Mike Egerton/PA)

Just a few hours after watching the men pile on 506 in a day against Pakistan, Knight was laying out her own aspirations to take the game forward in Antigua.

“They had an amazing day and it was good to see the highlights earlier. It’s about having a brand of English cricket that is this exciting, that is positive,” she said.

“Trying to be at the forefront of the world game and trying to be world leaders is something we want to do as a group.

“I see us, and Jon sees us, as being super positive and a little more aggressive. How far we can take this thing, how far we can push it?

“Lewy has been involved in that men’s set-up and brings different snippets of what they’ve done, what works for them. Obviously we’ve got to find out what works for us and go about it in our own way, but certainly me and Lewy are on the same page about that.

“We want to walk towards the danger and be really aggressive in our approach. I can see Lewy bringing that sort of mentality that the men have had, particularly in white-ball cricket.”

Knight expects to be fully ready for the opening match on Sunday, the first of three ODIs to be followed by five T20s.

Having been out of action since August, during which England missed her strong leadership as much as he reliable output with bat in hand, she is hopeful of being back to her best.

“It’s been three months of really hard work in the gym, lots of rehab, lots of getting back fit but I’m feeling really good. I’m pretty confident I’m 100 per cent fit,” she said.

“I feel really refreshed and excited to go back out there.”

England have confirmed that Amy Jones will serve as Knight’s vice-captain on the tour. Jones led the side at the end of the summer after regular deputy Nat Sciver also withdrew to manage her mental health, with the all-rounder now back with the team but not yet ready to rejoin the leadership group.

“She decided she didn’t want to put herself forward for the vice-captaincy at the moment, so Amy is going to take it on for this tour,” explained the skipper.