29 June 2020

World Cup winner tells pupils of hard journey back to the top of Cricket

The highs of being selected to represent England at 18 and the five years of hard work to get back into that team having been dropped have been discussed by World Cup winner Fran Wilson as she spoke to John Lyon pupils.

The star guest at the end of John Lyon’s annual Cricket Week, Fran Wilson was joined by keen young cricketers at the online talk on Friday 26th June, in which she outlined the key moments of her career and then answered a host of questions.

World Cup winner Fran Wilson spoke to pupils from her home

World Cup winner Fran Wilson spoke to pupils from her home

Ms Wilson said that as she was growing up all she wanted to do was play Cricket; determination which led to her selection for England aged just 18. But the tour to Sri Lanka did not go well, being bowled out on her very first ball in international cricket and soon after dropped from the squad.

On this introduction to international Cricket she said: “It didn’t go well and I felt totally out of my depth. It was my first time in an England shirt and I just didn’t feel good enough. For the first time ever I had doubts about my game. I got dropped pretty soon after. I was a bit lost.”

But far from breaking the young player, she took time out to go to university where she played a lot of football and learned new skills and how to get a good life balance, all while keeping her hand in with Cricket. And the time away paid off, as she was recalled to the England team in 2016 ahead of a dramatic year which would see her lift the World Cup trophy in 2017 having helped beat India in the final at Lord’s.

Fran Wilson was a World Cup winner in 2017

Fran Wilson was a World Cup winner in 2017

Ms Wilson said: “Coming back after five years, I still had a lot of nerves and some doubt, but I had built confidence through other life experiences and that meant I felt I could let go more when I walked out to bat. My university experience and life balance helped me to become a better cricketer.”

The Middlesex and Western Storm player answered questions on various topics, talking about the great strengths of England’s current captain Heather Knight, how if she could pick one England men’s Cricketer to play alongside she would choose Jos Buttler, and why Bristol is her favourite ground in England while the Basin Reserve in Wellington NZ is the best international stadium.

She also spoke about the frustration of being knocked out of the most recent T20 World Cup because of bad weather, her desire to get to a point in club cricket when men and women could play in the same team based purely on ability, and how there was nothing better than playing against Australia: “extra pressure, more media, more riding on it, full-on”.

“What a world-class catch. That is as good as you’ll ever see”

To end the session, Ms Wilson was asked to judge the John Lyon Cricket Week Cake competition, selecting Bertie Waters as winner for his cricketing cupcakes.