Heather Knight column: New England captain 'forgot a coin for the toss'

Heather Knight

Heather Knight was named England's new captain on 3 June, following the retirement of Charlotte Edwards. Here, she describes her pre-series nerves and the record-breaking successes that followed.

On the night before our first ODI against Pakistan, with a few nerves naturally kicking around before my first official game as captain, I remember thinking how I might feel in two weeks' time once the one-day series was over.

I needn't have worried. We won the series comprehensively 3-0, but the most pleasing thing was the fashion in which we played and went about our cricket.

Our first run-out in the new era was literally a non-starter. A damp squib at Leicester's Grace Road led to play being abandoned and us coming back the next day. It was definitely a bit torturous to have to wait around, but with the weather brightening up we got a full game in.

Heather Knight's first coin toss as England captain
Knight had to borrow a coin from the umpire - but won the toss at Grace Road

I didn't start my captaincy career in the best fashion, forgetting to bring out a coin to do the toss with - schoolgirl error! But from there, it was an incredible day. The girls were outstanding while I managed to bag 5-26 and be there at the end to knock the runs off - a good day at the office, to say the least.

It was also great to see Brunty [Katherine Brunt] pick up her 100th ODI wicket - there's no-one who wears the Three Lions with more pride and I'm massively chuffed for her.

Heather Knight is presented with a bottle of champagne for her heroic efforts in the first ODI against Pakistan
Knight (5-26 and 50 not out) became the first woman to take a five-wicket haul in her first ODI as captain; Kenya's Aasif Karim is the only man to do so

As a team, and as a batting unit in particular, it's fair to say we were under a bit of pressure going into the series following the recent changes to our batting line-up.

We couldn't have responded any better, chasing down a modest total in the first game with only three wickets down and then smashing 378 and 366 in the next two encounters - with 378 being a new England women's record in ODIs (coin remembered, what a toss to lose!)

About 25 overs into that match at New Road, with Tammy Beaumont and Lauren Winfield going well, someone asked what the record was. 'Statto' Laura Marsh immediately piped up with "374 in 1997" - impressive knowledge Laura!

We thought it might be a push, but when the promoted Nat Sciver got her shoulders loose, we knew it was a possibility. When I joined her at the crease, I told her "let's go for it", and we did just that - history made.

Natalie Sciver shares a grill kiss with Heather Knight as they celebrate the first ODI win against Pakistan
Natalie Sciver shares a grill kiss with Heather Knight as they celebrate the first ODI win against Pakistan

There was some talk after the game about the short boundary size at Worcester, but I think it made for massively exciting cricket to watch. On good pitches with shorter boundaries, the bowlers' skill level has to be very high and I'm all for anything that improves the standard of the game and makes for a better spectacle.

It was also nice to prove it wasn't a one-off and purely down to the boundary length as we again passed 350 on bigger boundaries in the final ODI in Taunton, with Tammy smashing her second hundred in a row.

She's been outstanding for us in this series, and the great thing is the number of different players that have put their hands up and performed for us at different times. We've put the hard yards in as a squad in the past few months and it's great to see everyone reaping the rewards out in the middle.

We know we've still got a long way to go as a team, with tougher challenges to come, but this series is a great place to start and kick on from.

On to the Twenty20s - see you all in Bristol on Sunday.

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Tammy Beaumont & Lauren Winfield on 'unbelievable' England win

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