Two days before the ICC Women’s World Cup final, Ian Shrubsole, the father of England fast bowler Anya, shared a photo of her at Lord’s on social media.
It was a picture from 16 years ago, when Anya was 10, captioned with a dream of one day playing at the famous old ground.
In the space of one day, 9.4 overs and six wickets, the dream very quickly turned into a fairytale reality for Shrubsole, now an ICC Women’s World Cup winner and player of the final.
“Dad’s Twitter profile has gone through the roof! If someone had said to me that all this time later I’d be at Lord’s, winning a World Cup final, I would have laughed them away – you never think that sort of thing happens.
“You always dream that you might play, nothing more than that. You don’t get caught up in the individual performances, all that matters is that the team wins, that’s what you think about.
“But it has, it’s a dream, and makes that photo all the more special.
“I’m always someone who believes you should enjoy these games, you want to take in the atmosphere because you may never get there again.
“You’re nervous, you see the ground filling up and you realise what a massive occasion it is.”
As special as her six wickets were on a personal level, the team also desperately needed Shrubsole to stand up and be counted.
At 191 for three India looked to be cruising in its chase of 229, but Shrubsole – who had earlier picked up one wicket – turned the game on its head, picked up five more dismissals for 12 runs and took the final one for her troubles to give her the best ever bowling figures in a world cup final.
But she wasn’t the only player who starred for the host, with batter Tammy Beaumont taking home more than one award from Lord’s.
Finishing as top run-scorer, with 410 to her name including a magnificent 148 against South Africa, her influence earned her the Player of the Tournament accolade.
But in true modest style, the England opener was keen to share the award with those closest to her.
“You just want to make sure you’re performing for the team,” she said. “Everyone has made some crucial knocks or taken wickets.
“It’s amazing to be singled out but the reason we have this World Cup is because of everyone in the squad. We’re a tight group anyway so this just makes it all better.
“I got a bit stressed in the nets earlier in the tournament, I was hitting it well but kept getting out which frustrated me – I take my batting very seriously, so Mark (Robinson) was there to tell me I hadn’t become a bad player overnight.
“From there I chilled out a bit and played against South Africa which worked alright – he senses what you need at the right time.”
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