A recurring back problem has England Women fretting about Katherine Brunt's availability for the upcoming Women's World T20 2018. The 33-year-old pacer was able to only bowl five deliveries in her first over in their warm-up fixture against India before being taken back to the dressing room, following which the England management released a statement that read:
"Katherine had an injury coming into the tournament. We've been attempting to manage her return to action. She left the field today because she was experiencing back pain. She will be re-assessed in the morning upon arriving in St Lucia."
England opener Tammy Beaumont, while stressing on Brunt's significance to the side, said that England were prepared to play without her in the eventuality of her being ruled out.
"She tried to bowl yesterday and ended up going off the pitch and she's off for a scan today that's going to be assessed tomorrow by the physio and doctors," said Beaumont to Cricbuzz on Thursday (November 8). "But she's been managing that back injury for quite a long time now and we're well prepared to play without her as well as with her if she's fit but we've got plans in place to be able to take the field without her.
"If you think our two biggest names, probably Sarah Taylor and Katherine Brunt. If you took both of them out a few years ago, we probably would've really really struggled, but now actually I think we've got players ready to step up and take on that opportunity. As a character around the squad if she had to go home, I think she'd be a big loss, but in terms of the actual cricket, I think these days you know that''s what we're working on having that covered."
Major reason for that is the unearthing of talent through tournaments like England's KIA Super League and Australia Women's Big Bash League. Nottinghamshire's Kirstie Gordon and Sussex's Linsey Smith, the left-arm spinner duo from Loughborough Lightning in the Kia Super League, and 20-year-old batter-cum-legspinner Sophia Dunkley also was named in the squad, who impressed for Middlesex and Surrey Stars.
"You're seeing more players coming into teams, having played a lot of high-profile cricket, certainly our three youngsters haven't made their debut yet, and be here without the help of the KIA Super League and I'm sure Australia have got many players like that as well."
England, who had won the 50-over tournament last year, are in with a rare opportunity to pull off a double if they can win the Women's WT20. Beaumont views it as an opportunity to achieve the feat which "doesn't come around very often", especially at a time when the tournament is a standalone one for the first time in its history.
"That's what we're striving for; we want to play exciting cricket and try and dominate the world and this is the chance to showcase that. You saw the success of the 50-pver World Cup last year in England and quite rightly we're not standing alone on our own two feet. And we're really hoping to get that kind of atmosphere out here in the West Indies. It's an exciting time in women's cricket," she said.