Sunday 14 March 2010 

Caroline Atkins Diary - Valuable Experience Gained

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Caroline Atkins

Caroline Atkins is writing an exclusive diary for Cricket World from India where she has been on tour with the England Women's cricket team. In her final report, she rounds up the successful Twenty20 International series.

I carried the drinks in the first Twenty20 match where we bowled first and kept India to 125 off 20 overs. We obviously hadn’t planned to leave our run-chase until the end, but it was very exciting to see us get those last two runs off the final ball. The other batting highlight was seeing Jen (Gunn) and Danni (Hazell) hit Goswami for 18 runs in one over. I leapt out of my seat when we won and being 1-0 up in a three match series felt good, but unfortunately it didn’t last.

We bowled first again in the second T20 and India managed one more than last time, setting us 126 to win. This time I got to play as Ebony was unwell. I was massively excited about being on the pitch again and knew to give it everything as I had nothing to lose. To review my performance I was tidy in the field and padded up to go in number five. So far so good, however the game changes pretty quickly in Twenty20 and as we fell behind the run rate, the bigger hitters were sent in before me. I ended up going in at number eight needing 40 off 22 balls.

Obviously no-one wants to die wondering, so after the bowler stopped my first shot I decided hitting over mid-wicket was my best option. The ball was there for it, my position was good and my bat speed was phenomenal. Had I used the middle of my bat it may even have cleared the ropes, but unfortunately a top edge flew skywards and landed in the hands of the point fielder. Gutted, out for a duck, but I tell you what I felt much better for giving it everything than playing within my shell, as I had done in the one-dayers. We lost the game and took it to a decider.

Lottie (Charlotte Edwards) won the toss again, so we bowled first and yet again India scored 125, setting us 126 to win. We shuffled the batting order to give ourselves the best chance of getting ahead of the rate. The tactic paid off and we passed the score five wickets down with four balls to spare. This time I was next in, so had to stay calm and that meant the leap off my seat at the sight of victory wasn’t quite as high as last time, but having done it twice meant we had won the Twenty20 series 2-1. It was brilliant to finish on a high, even though Jack Birkenshaw did allow the trophy to slide off his coach seat on the way home!

So having lost the one day series 3-2 and won the Twenty20 series 2-1, India have won four games and we have won four games. I doubt any other World Champions would want to split the spoils with a team ranked third in the world and neither did we. However, we were without three key members of the World Cup winning team and still came out even stevens on Indian soil. Another positive upshot from tour, was that new players have gained valuable experience ahead of the World T20 in May and have now played cricket in India where the next World Cup will be held in 2013.

Caroline Atkins

© Cricket World 2010

Caroline made her England debut in the Ashes series in June 2001 and has to date played in eight Tests, 58 One-Day Internationals and 17 Twenty20 Internationals. Her ODI top score of 145 came when she shared a record opening stand of 268 with Sarah Taylor at Lord's.