Thursday, July 25, 2024

ICC: ‘Mrs Consistent’ Katherine Sciver-Brunt bids farewell to the World Cup stage

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Photo Credit: ICC

There will be no fairytale World Cup ending for Katherine Sciver-Brunt but her legacy will live on.

England’s narrow defeat against South Africa at Newlands brought an end to Sciver-Brunt’s World Cup journey in the same country in which she made her ICC tournament debut 18 years ago.

Retirement has never been far from the Barnsley native’s mind but with a new group of pacers coming through, she is now ready to say goodbye, first to World Cups. 

“I’ve been thinking about retirement daily for two years,” Sciver-Brunt admitted. “It used to be after every tour, I’d question what I was doing.

“But as it’s drawn closer, I’ve thought about it a bit more seriously and it does creep into your mind when you’re training, mainly because of the pressure other people put on you.  

“The media do like to keep tabs on you. Are you close to the end? Is your body holding up? 

“You get all those comments and then you start to think, ‘Oh, am I slowing down? Should I stop? Am I embarrassing myself?’ 

“I’ve always said I would like to retire on top, where I’m still wanted, I’m still picked in the first 11, I’m not less than what I used to be. 

“That’s how I’ve felt in the last six months, those things are starting to creep in where I can see somebody taking my role and doing it just as well.

“This is definitely the last World Cup and beyond this point, I’m fairly close to it all being along the same line, so it won’t be long.”

At this World Cup, Sciver-Brunt played under a new name following her marriage to teammate Nat Sciver, but there is another title she hopes she has always been known by.

She added: “Looking back on my career, I’d like to think I was Mrs. Consistent.  

“I’d like to be remembered as someone who was always at the top of my game and always contributing for my country, helping us in a winning cause and giving everything I had.  

“The new name is a bit of a mouthful, isn’t it? The good thing is Nat can carry on my name, the legacy of Brunt will carry on which is great.

“Having my name associated with hers is also great because she’s a bit of a legend in her own right now.”

Sciver-Brunt may wish to forget her last game at a World Cup, going for 33 runs from her four overs before falling first ball in the run chase. 

But there were bright moments, an excellent diving catch to dismiss the Tazmin Brits for 68, proving she is still nimble despite being in the last few months of her 19-year career.

World Cups are where she made her name, posting figures of three for six in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2009 final in a year which saw England claim the ODI and T20 World Cups as well as the Ashes.

In 2017, she was part of the side that reclaimed the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in front of a sell-out crowd at Lord’s and it was on the famous balcony where her proudest achievement began. 

During England’s celebrations, Katherine asked Nat to be her girlfriend and she would later ask her to be her wife with the two marrying in May last year.

With the end of her career on the horizon, Sciver-Brunt will continue working on the property business she began after her first back surgery in 2007.

She believes having the security of a career after cricket allowed her to play more freely and it is the piece of advice she passes on to her younger teammates.

That said, she is still struggling to imagine life without cricket, and without Nat by her side every day.

“You’ve always got to believe there is someone out there for you, but when you’re so encapsulated in what you do, everything gets set aside,” she said.

“But if it’s going to happen, it will happen naturally. I didn’t realise the kind of person I needed to be with, and Nat was a person unlike anybody I’ve ever been with before.  

“A lot of people say, ‘how does she put up with you?’ She has patience in abundance and empathy and she understands me and loves me for who I am.

“We just work really well together and complement each other, and there is never a day where we want to be apart.  

“Coming into my retirement, she will be gone, but hopefully the ECB will take me along. I’ll be slinging in the nets to all of them!”

Sciver-Brunt thought her career was over in 2007, not realising that back surgery, and the ones that followed, would in fact prolong her career.  

Her back has continued to cause her issues but she has not let it stop her from steaming in with a face like thunder and a laser-like focus on the job at hand. 

What will happen when the last ball is bowled, or even when that will be, is still up for debate, but what is certain is Katherine Sciver-Brunt will go out on her own terms.

One of cricket’s greatest players and characters will do it, as she always has done, her way.

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