Katie George Q&A: Seamer hopes success with Welsh Fire in The Hundred will boost England hopes

Seamer Katie George hopes re-signing for Welsh Fire will help her kick on in 2021 and cement a permanent place in England Women’s first-choice XI.

We caught up with the 21-year-old on the day she accepted the chance to roll over her 2020 contract for The Hundred into next year, when the tournament will begin following a year’s delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Western Stormer bowler was quick to remind us she’s got loads more to give after returning to the England squad for the recent T20 series against West Indies, plus plenty more besides!

How easy was it to recommit to the Welsh Fire?

Katie: It was probably one of the easiest decisions I’ve had to make! The reasons why I signed for them in the first place are still there. I’m still very excited from the conversations that I had with Matthew Mott and then hopefully Meg Lanning is going to come back. I’m really excited to be able to tap into their experience and play alongside, and against, some of the best players in the world.

Has the year’s delay to The Hundred dampened your enthusiasm?

Katie: I think it has only made me more excited, to be honest, especially as there was limited cricket this summer although the ECB did awesome to get any on in the first place with the West Indies. The values of the competition haven’t changed – how it’s going to improve the women’s game and just the game in general haven’t changed – and I’m just really excited for it.

How essential is it to get the world-class players involved?

Katie: I absolutely think it is essential for myself, as I want to challenge myself, but also for the younger players. I remember when I was 16 and getting the opportunity to play against people who were better than me. It’s the best way that you can improve. You can tap into their knowledge – they’ve got a wealth of it to offer and they are always very happy to have a chat with you.

How hopeful are you that fans will be able to attend games next summer?

Katie: I’m not a COVID expert so I don’t know what will happen but I think we can judge from how successful the streaming numbers were for the Rachael Heyhoe Flint trophy [that there’s a big interest in the women’s game]. The best-case scenario is getting the crowds in – you can’t watch cricket better than being there live, with the atmosphere.

Global budgets for women’s cricket have been cut. How do you feel the ECB is doing?

Katie: I personally can’t knock the ECB. The fact that they kept the contracts the same and created the opportunity to retain women cricketers is a phenomenal effort and shows the long-term investment that the ECB has got in women’s cricket. The ECB was amazing in getting the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy up and running.

Where do you feel you are with your England career?

Katie: Coming into the West Indies T20 series I’d been away for a little bit – I’d had a couple of injuries that had stagnated me a little bit. But being in the West Indies bubble means that I’ve had really good conversations with Lisa [Keightley] and Tim Macdonald, the assistant coach, and I feel like I’m in a really good place and what direction I want to head into. The schedule next year is packed and exciting – there’s a lot of cricket to be played. Next year is a very good opportunity for me to kick on ahead of the Commonwealth Games and World Cups in 2022.

You’re only 21 – do you feel you’ve got a lot more to give?

Katie: Absolutely – I think sometimes people forget how young I am. I feel like I’ve got a lot more to give than I’ve shown; there’s only been little snippets of my quality so I’m really excited to get that opportunity and take it with both hands.

What are you looking to improve?

Katie: For me it’s about getting a run of time without any niggles and then I can kick on and show that I have a good level of consistently that’s required at the international stage.

Watch the women’s and the men’s competitions on Sky Sports Cricket when The Hundred kicks off in 2021!

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