England captain Heather Knight says the inaugural Women’s Premier League auction is a “slight distraction” heading into the T20 World Cup.
Knight and a number of her England team-mates, including Sophie Ecclestone, Danni Wyatt, Nat Sciver-Brunt and Katherine Sciver-Brunt, are among the players hoping to be purchased on Monday ahead of March’s inaugural WPL in India.
The auction takes place the same day England face Ireland in their second T20 World Cup match in Paarl, with their first fixture against West Indies at the same venue on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 12.30pm (1pm first ball).
Knight has a WPL reserve price of £40,000 while Ecclestone, Wyatt and the Sciver-Brunts are in the top bracket at £50k.
England head coach Jon Lewis will definitely be at the tournament having been appointed to lead Lucknow-based side UP Warriorz.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Knight said of the auction: “It would be naive to think it isn’t a slight distraction. It’s on everyone’s minds.
“We have had a chat about it. I think talking about it is a really healthy thing, it doesn’t need to be an elephant in the room. How we manage it as individuals is very important.
“For us as a group, we’re going to be really open, talk about it and just see it as a bonus and know that each individual player’s worth in the England team will not change depending on what happens.
“It’s something we’re having to get used to as cricketers as the landscape changes a lot and more drafts and more options come into the game.”
Knight: Unhealthy to focus on past disappointments
England lost to Australia in the final of last year’s 50-over World Cup in New Zealand, while they were knocked out in the semi-finals of the previous T20 World Cup in Australia in 2020 when the game against India was rained off and their opponent progressed by virtue of winning their first-round group.
Asked whether those previous disappointments will spur England on in this year’s T20 World Cup, Knight said: “I think they do in your training and preparation for tournaments.
“They give you learnings on how you can be better and drive how hard you want to work. They do for me. But in a tournament it can be a bit unhealthy to have that mentality.
“I think is important to focus on what we do really well. We have quite a few girls at their first World Cup so won’t have had any experience of that and I think that is quite a handy thing.
“They haven’t got any memories of losing close games.”
England swept a depleted West Indies 8-0 across the white-ball formats in the Caribbean in December, winning the ODI series 3-0 and then the T20 leg of the tour 5-0 as they adopted an attacking brand of cricket under new head coach Lewis.
But Knight says her team will not overlook a West Indies side who won the 2016 T20 World Cup, beat them in the group stages of the 2022 50-over World Cup and have been bolstered by the return of some senior players, including Stafanie Taylor.
She added: “I think this could be quite a tough game for us. We had success against them in that five-match series but we have to see it as a completely fresh game.
“We won’t be underestimating them as they beat us in the last 50-over World Cup. We know how good they can be so for us it’s about getting on top early and keeping them quiet.
Knight warns players about too much expectation
“The main thing is doing things how we want to do them. We have a nice blend of youth and experience, which is a good place to be in my experience of World Cups.
“You have that freshness and fearlessness of young players but you also want that tournament experience and players who know how to win matches.
“I would say, ‘play as you have been playing, have the same fearlessness that the youngsters have brought to this group and try not to have too much expectation on yourself’.
“As a young player you can be desperate to announce yourself on the world stage, put in performances, so continue how you have been doing things and try not to put too much pressure on yourself.”
Watch England’s T20 World Cup opener against West Indies live on Sky Sports Cricket from 12.30pm on Saturday (1pm first ball). England’s fixture against Ireland is live on the same channel from 12.30pm on Monday (1pm first ball).