Big Interview: Jet-setting Georgia Elwiss wants the urn back
Georgia has something on her mind.
For this weekend, Ms Elwiss and the rest of England’s victorious World Cup-winning squad are jetting out for the acid test of their credentials – an Ashes series Down Under.
As with her male cricketing compatriots, England’s women will take on their fiercest foes Australia in their own back yard.
It’s a series which means as much to both sides as you’d expect and there is plenty riding on it.
England were crowned world champions in the summer. This week they were confirmed as the top-ranked side international side in the world – one place above their rivals.
Just like swiping a bone from a dingo, they won’t like it.
But it’s not just Australia who have something to strive for in this series, our antipodean arch-rivals have something our side want desperately too – the Ashes.
After three successive Ashes victories, England surrendered the urn to Australia in the last series.
And Georgia Elwiss, like her team-mates, wants it back.
Unlike the men’s series, however, the women’s Ashes are not just a series of five Test matches, they are a mixture of different formats.
Three one-day internationals are followed by a single Test match before the series is completed with three Twenty20 internationals.
The winner is decided on a points per game basis; four points for a win and two for a draw in the Test, with two points for a win in all limited-overs games.
The preparation has been done, she says. A little acclimatisation to be done and they are ready for the first clash at Brisbane’s Allan Border Field a fortnight tomorrow.
“There’s just under two weeks from when we land to the first match, so we’ve been working hard on our prep,” said the Wolverhampton-born all-rounder.
“It’s the ODIs first in Brisbane and Coffs Harbour before the Test match in Sydney then the three T20s in Sydney and Canberra. It’s a pretty compact schedule.”
Indeed it is, the final T20 is due to be played in the Australian capital on November 21, so it has been an intense period of work following on from the World Cup triumph and the domestic season Elwiss enjoyed with Loughborough Lightning in the Kia Super League.
Elwiss was part of the squad though not the team which lifted the women’s World Cup and she is keen to get back into the first XI for England during the series Down Under.
“The World Cup was fantastic, we’ve been growing as people and players from it,” she added. “It was something that we wanted to happen but didn’t expect to happen.
“Now it’s the Ashes and the chance to show we deserve the title of number one in the world.
“That’s our goal. In sport there’s always a new challenge. With the World Cup and the Ashes, it is a hectic schedule. It’s about bragging rights. Australia will have wanted to win the World Cup as much as we did and they’ll want to keep the Ashes as much as we want to get them back.
“It’s really about pushing ourselves on to be number one.”
First things first for Elwiss though, she has to take her chance if and when it comes for England. After falling down the pecking order last summer her first priority is to get on to the field of play.
“Getting a game would be nice,” laughs the genial 26-year-old former Wolverhampton Girls’ High School pupil.
“But it’s about making sure I’m ready when I’m called upon. And it’s about making sure I’m there to help the rest of the team too.
“It’s quite unique as a series when it comes to switching formats. It’s going to be a marathon not a sprint.”
So who does Elwiss see as being the big guns who can help England come out on top in Australia?
“Katherine Brunt,” says Elwiss without hesitation as she picks out England’s bowler. “She has pace. If she can stay for the seven games, she will be massive for us.”
Natalie Sciver will also be vital, added Elwiss. “Nat’s a game-changer. She is brilliant with the bat and ball who can take the game away from you.
“Tammy Beaumont too, she has had a fantastic two years at the top of the batting order.”
And who are the game-changers England must shackle to regain the Ashes?
“Ellyse Perry is probably the most dangerous at the moment,” warned Elwiss of the Aussie all-rounder. “She can put you under real pressure with her batting. They have Elyse Villani too who is an excellent batter.”
But Elwiss believes the Aussies will not be at full strength. “They are missing their captain Meg Lanning, who has had shoulder surgery. She’s out of the series – she will be a big miss for them.”
As the excitement builds, Elwiss is also looking forward to an extended stay in Australia after last month signing to play for Melbourne Stars in the women’s Big Bash.
“It starts just after the Ashes,” added Elwiss.
“I signed with the Stars a couple of weeks ago at the end of our KSL season. The opportunity came up and I thought ‘go for it’.
“It’s a really good tournament and there are some fantastic players – plus I’ll get some sun too!”