You’re okay at cricket: Sophie Ecclestone was told by her headmaster

Sophie Ecclestone rolls her arm over. © Getty Images

England’s Sophie Ecclestone is happy to be recognized as the number one bowler in the world but wants to get back to playing cricket.

“It’s nice to know I’ve been recognized for what I’ve been doing,” she told BBC Sport in an interview. “I’ve been aiming for that for the past year or two. Now it’s happened, it’s quite weird.”

England’s home series against India, that was scheduled at the end of June, had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Talks are on for a tri-series featuring England, India and South Africa in September. The Hundred also has been postponed to next year.

The 21-year-old Ecclestone, who recently celebrated her birthday under lockdown, isn’t pleased with the pandemic induced break and wants cricket to return soon. “I didn’t think I would become the number one bowler in the world and then spend my time trying to crochet an elephant – in my kitchen, on my own, with a dog that’s annoying me,” she said.

Sophie Ecclestone, who has played 60 matches for England across formats, is the youngest to take 50 wickets in T20Is. She became the number one bowler in the format after an excellent showing at the T20 World Cup in Australia.

It “has always been cricket” for her said Ecclestone. She talked about the time she surprised her school headmaster with her cricketing skills.

“I don’t think he realised I could actually play cricket,” she said. “My mum told him I could play and he said: ‘Yeah, she can join in.’”

“I got all the boys out, and I bowled the headmaster first ball. He said to me afterwards: ‘So, you’re OK at cricket?’ He was so nice to me for the rest of school after that.”

Ecclestone, who made her debut for England when she was 17, talked about how she went from hunting players like Katherine Brunt and Laura Marsh for their autographs to become their team mates.

“I’d got Katherine’s [Brunt] autograph a few times. Now she’s like: ‘For crying out loud, don’t bring that out again!’” she said before talking about her next target.

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“I’m going to drop Laura Marsh in it now. When I went to watch England play in 2008, she was there and my friend and I decided to get her autograph.”

“We were there on the boundary and she said she’d sign at the end of the over. And then, at the end of the over, she ran off!”

Ecclestone, who was in contention for a spot in the England side for the 2017, said she was gutted when she had to choose between cricket and exams.

“I was fuming, I was really upset,” she said. “Looking back now, it was the right decision – but then I can’t even remember what my A levels were in!”

Ecclestone revealed that she wants to be a pilot although her immediate aim is to help England defend their World Cup title next year in New Zealand.