Heather Knight: Alice Capsey has time on her side after shortage of ODI cricket

England captain Heather Knight has urged patience with Alice Capsey after admitting the teenager is still to find her feet in ODIs following a more regular diet of T20s in her fledgling career.

Capsey heads into the first of three ODIs against Pakistan on Thursday with a meagre batting average of 13.9, albeit from a small sample size of 10 innings while she has featured everywhere in the top five.

Knight accepts England building towards October’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh and the rise of franchise leagues has left their youngsters such as Capsey with fewer opportunities to crack the 50-over format.

Alice Capsey has found ODIs a tough nut to crack (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Alice Capsey has found ODIs a tough nut to crack (Bradley Collyer/PA)

This week’s series-opener at Derby is just England’s 10th ODI since the beginning of 2023 but Knight is convinced Capsey, still only 19, has time on her side to develop and flourish sooner rather than later.

“Having not played a huge amount of ODI cricket is one of the main reasons (for her struggles),” Knight said. “I think Alice is still working out the tempo that she wants to go at.

“In T20 cricket, she’s had her success when she’s gone hard and looked to dominate in the powerplay and take the bowlers on, which she does well.

“At times in the Ashes last year, she batted quite early when the powerplay was really important and looked to take Australia down, which she did quite successfully at Bristol (scoring an ODI-best 40 off 34 balls in an England win).

“It’s just about her expanding her game, learning to adapt to different situations, she’s still only 19 so that will come with time and the volume of cricket played.”

  1. England v Pakistan – May 23, Derby (D/N)
  2. England v Pakistan – May 26, Taunton
  3. England v Pakistan – May 29, Chelmsford (D/N)

Capsey took The Hundred by storm aged 16 and became the youngest player to record a T20 fifty for England days before her 18th birthday but she has been dismissed for single figure scores in six of her last nine innings.

A top-score of 31 in her penultimate outing took 33 balls although she took two crucial wickets with her ever-improving off-spin to hasten England’s push for a T20 series victory over Pakistan last week.

“One thing Alice does want to do is become an all-rounder and her off-spin, she’s really working really hard on it and trying to develop that to become a genuine all-rounder as well,” Knight said.

“She could potentially play as an all-rounder (and bat) at seven. She’s working hard on her batting and bowling and looking to be in a place where she can perform consistently in that one-day team.”

England clean swept Pakistan in the three-match T20 series (Nigel French/PA)
England clean swept Pakistan in the three-match T20 series (Nigel French/PA)

England clean swept Pakistan in the three-match T20 series as their attacking philosophy encouraged by head coach Jon Lewis was put to the test on a couple of occasions.

While Knight wants to keep the foot on the accelerator, she acknowledged they must tailor their approach to ODIs, where they welcome opening batter Tammy Beaumont and seamer Kate Cross into the squad. Nat Sciver-Brunt will once again only be available as a batter.

“You can say ‘let’s be aggressive’ all day long but you have to work out the method you’re going to do it and that will be slightly different for every player,” Knight added.

“It’s really important to get your basics a little bit better. It’s still white-ball cricket but you have a bit more time to go with the ebbs and flows of the games and you have to read situations slightly differently.”