Heather Knight column: Women's Ashes and West Country accents
England vice-captain Heather Knight will be writing another series of columns for BBC Sport during this summer's Women's Ashes series, which begins in Taunton on Tuesday 21 July with the first of three one-day internationals. You can listen to commentary on every ball of the series on the BBC.
For me, there's nothing better than an Ashes series on home soil, and with not long now until things get under way at the County Ground in Taunton, excitement levels are building.
Having won the Women's Ashes back-to-back in 2013 and 2014, we will be going for three in a row - which, with the Australians being both the ICC World Twenty20 and 50-over World Cup champions, would be quite an achievement. We've had some great battles with this particular Australian team over the past couple of years, and I expect this summer to be no different.
With the added excitement of every ball being broadcast live on BBC Radio and Sky Sports, it's going to be a massive summer for us. There's such a buzz around women's sport in the UK at the moment, and it's our turn to step up and showcase what we can do.
There have been a few tweaks to the multi-format structure since the last series down under in 2014: the number of points awarded for winning the Test match has been reduced from six to four, and this summer the Test will be played in between the three ODIs and three T20 internationals.
I don't think the change in the number of points for the Test will make a huge difference - we want to win every game after all - but I think the move to play it in the middle of the series is a good one. For me, it will be the team that transitions better between each format and holds their nerve for the big moments that will come out on top.
|Women's Ashes: England v Australia 2015|
|Date||Game||Venue||Pts for win||Pts for draw|
|In the event of a tie in the T20 internationals, a super over will be played|
|21 Jul||1st ODI||Taunton||2||1|
|23 Jul||2nd ODI||Bristol||2||1|
|26 Jul||3rd ODI||Worcester||2||1|
|26 Aug||1st T20||Chelmsford||2||N/A|
|28 Aug||2nd T20||Hove||2||N/A|
|31 Aug||3rd T20||Cardiff||2||N/A|
Women's Cricket Super League
Ashes aside for a moment, there has been a pretty big development in the women's domestic scene recently, with the announcement of the inaugural Women's Cricket Super League (WCSL) which will take place next year.
It's absolutely brilliant news for women's cricket in this country and alongside the news that there will be a Women's Big Bash League in Australia later this year, it's certainly an exciting time to be involved with the sport.
For me, one of the simple factors that will help to make the WCSL successful is ensuring that we play on good quality cricket pitches.
We all want to play positive, attacking cricket, and to do this we need to play on good pitches. This is what makes the game exciting and will help to bring crowds in.
|Women's Ashes on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra|
|Three Ashes and World Cup winners: Isa Guha, Ebony Rainford-Brent and Mel Jones|
|208 international caps in the TMS team|
|First British female cricket commentator: Alison Mitchell leading the coverage|
|Fourth time in succession that every ball of the Women's Ashes is live on the BBC|
Heading out west
Anyway, back to next week and the "Big Urn"! Being a Devonian, I'm pretty excited that the first two ODIs will be played in the West Country, at two of the grounds where I probably developed most as a cricketer when I was growing up.
I spent time with both the Somerset and Gloucestershire cricket academies as a youngster, and I hope both the team and I personally have some success at Taunton and Bristol in the next few weeks, with the third one-dayer up in Worcester.
It appears I'm not the only one in the squad who's looking forward to playing in the South West as Sarah Taylor has been practising her West Country accent at training every single week since April!
Looking back over the past few months, we've had the best preparation to a series that I have ever been involved with.
Starting with the batting and spin camp in Sri Lanka in April, a solid block of training at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough, and finishing with a number of warm-up matches against boys' county and academy teams - we are ready to hit the ground running on Tuesday. Get behind us!