Anya Shrubsole in action. ©ICC

Anya Shrubsole, England’s premier fast bowler, talked to Ireland women cricketers about the bowling under pressure in an online learning session. The vice-captain of England team was invited by Cricket Ireland to speak with the players and share her experiences of playing at the top level for close to 12 years. The webinar session was headed by Ed Joyce, Ireland’s head coach and also had Mark Robinson, former England coach.

The discussion primarily revolved around Shrubsole’s match-winning spell of 6 for 46 against India in the finals of ICC Women’s World Cup at Lord’s. Chasing 228, India were comfortably placed at 191 for the loss of four wickets, but the re-introduction of Shrubsole into the attack triggered a collapse of sorts as India slumped to hand England a nine-run victory.

“It is a great opportunity for our senior performance and academy squads to hear from some of the most talented women cricketers in the world – earlier this month we held a batting masterclass featuring Meg Lanning, and now Anya Shrubsole has been so generous with her time,” said Joyce, expressing gratitude to the English player.

“The reason we focussed on Anya’s 2017 World Cup final performance was that, in her own words, Anya had had an average tournament to that point – she felt the pressure and the very real risk of being dropped during the early stages. The mental strength she demonstrated to regroup and refocus midway during a pressurised tournament was incredible – and I feel it was the insights of Anya’s mental strength and psychology that was so instructive from this session.”

Shrubsole also spoke about how concentrating on each ball is vital and not to get carried away by wickets as each day is a different challenge.

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“Possibly the most insightful moment for the younger members of our squad was the realisation that even the England vice-captain at a World Cup has to work on her confidence and get herself mentally ready for the fight. Anya talked through the need to have a clarity of thinking and – regardless of the state of the game – always be considering what is the best option for the next ball.”

“What was also clear is – similar to Meg Lanning’s advice last session – players need to ensure that they know what they’re good at and do that well. That appears to be a common theme coming through these sessions.”

Gaby Lewis, the 19-year-old allrounder, who attended the online session was happy to take learnings from Shrubsole.

“I was certainly intrigued to know more about the psychological side of performing ‘in that moment’ and how the squad as a whole prepared mentally for such a pressure situation,” she said.

“We all have our ways to prepare, whether as a team or individually, and it’s reassuring to know that even the biggest teams in the world need to constantly work at this.”

“For a cricketer, nothing beats getting out in the nets or on the field, but I’ve enjoyed these masterclasses and the opportunities we’ve had to chat to some great players. With hopefully a World Cup Qualifier coming up later this year, these sorts of sessions can only be good for our squad in preparing for that event.”

The ICC had announced that the World Cup Qualifier was postponed and a further update is awaited.