The world of sport is tough - especially for women, so how do you break in?
Katherine Brunt is a member of the England women’s cricket team (winners of the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup). She was named England’s Women’s Cricketer of the Year in 2006, 2010 and 2013 and is currently competing in the Women’s Ashes in Australia. We had a chat with her to find out what it takes to become a world-class cricketer in a competitive sporting world.
What inspired you to become a cricket player?
‘I was a shy child and was bullied for being overweight, which made me very self-conscious. My dad and brother played cricket, so I began going along with them. I had to get changed in the toilets because I was the only girl in the whole league, but they treated me like one of the boys; the attitude was very much, if you’re good enough to be here, why not?’
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
‘It was hard trying to be accepted into that world as a female cricketer, and be recognised as a proper athlete. I’ve also struggled with back injuries throughout my career – I had to have surgery aged 21, and again at 28. It was a testing time: you’re in pain, you feel down all the time, and you’ve gone from being really active to not even being able to dress yourself on some days. If it wasn’t for the people around me, I wouldn’t have gotten through it.’
What’s been the highlight of your journey so far?
‘Winning this year’s Women’s Cricket World Cup is by far my biggest achievement. I’ve won two before, but I did not think I’d make it to third. In fact, doctors told me I wouldn’t because of the two serious injuries to my back. The fact that I got there and helped us win is unbelievable.’
‘I want to compete in the 2021 Women’s Cricket World Cup and be a world champion again. I’m driven to become the best player in the world. It’s hard to get there, but I’ve done it before and it’s definitely something to hold on to. I’m also doing a coaching course which is intense, it’s like a mini degree! I want to inspire the next generation of female cricket players.’
Katherine Brunt is supporting NatWest and Chance to Shine’s Cricket Has No Boundaries campaign, which showcases and celebrates the diversity of modern cricket in England and Wales.