(Photo: Getty Images)
By Paul Eddison
ANYA Shrubsole could never have predicted how her 2017 would turn out – and it could yet get even better after her nomination for Sports Personality of the Year.
Given the President’s Award at the British Sports Awards on Wednesday, as well as being part of the BT Sport Action Woman Team of the Year winners the day before, it’s already been a busy December.
And unlike her male cricketing counterparts, Shrubsole also got a nomination for SPOTY, and she admits it’s been a lot to take in.
She said: “It’s all been pretty surreal. It’s become obvious December is awards season and there are lots going around. SPOTY is a huge honour and something that I didn’t expect, even after winning the World Cup.
“It’s not something you aim for as such, it’s something you accept, but what I think is it’s really good recognition for where the women’s game is at. It wouldn’t have mattered who of us was nominated, just the fact there’s a female cricketer on the shortlist is amazing.
“One of the things that we’re really aware of as a team is that we want to win and be successful but one of the real benefits of that is we can hopefully be real role models and inspirations for people who play cricket or might want to play cricket in the future.
“That’s a part of our role as international players that we take really seriously as a team. The World Cup really helped us to be able to do that now.”
Shrubsole is back in the UK following last month’s Women’s Ashes, which England came back to draw – albeit with Australia retaining the urn.
That inevitably led to some frustration, with the Australians getting off to a strong start in the one-day series and England never able to close the gap.
However, the way England came back in the T20 series to level the overall points is a positive sign for the future according to Shrubsole.
She said: “We went out there to try to get the Ashes back and we weren’t able to do that so we’re obviously disappointed about that. But I think to come back and win those two T20s and that mini-series and draw the series overall, we can take a huge amount of heart from the way we fought.
“We could have fallen apart when we lost the Ashes in that first T20 and rolled over because it had been a long period of cricket and there were some tired bodies.
“So for us to turn it around and produce a couple of performances like that shows the character we have in the team.
“I think we can be hugely proud of what we did there and if someone had offered us at the start of the year that we would win the World Cup and draw the Ashes, we’d have probably taken it.”
Next on the agenda for Shrubsole, aside from SPOTY, is a Christmas at home with the family as she recovers from a long season.
And with run-rates on the rise in the women’s game, the 25-year-old admits she will need to hit the ground running next season.
She added: “I think you only have to look at the scores through the World Cup and the Ashes to see it’s on an upward trend. In ODI cricket, 220-230 won you most games, now you need to 250-260 or more and it’s the same in T20.
“Scoring is going to keep going up so it’s up to us bowlers to come up with something different.
“You’ve got to make sure you’ve got as many skills as possible. Having one slower ball isn’t enough, but it’s your margin for error which is much smaller.
“It’s about having more skills but also making sure the skills you do have, you deliver better and more consistently because if you’re slightly wrong, you’ll be punished.”