EXCLUSIVE Explosion of England star Alice Capsey’s whirlwind talent has come at the perfect time for women’s cricket – and now the 19-year-old sensation is targeting Test glory in India
- The 19-year-old has made a superb start to her career and is a bright prospect
- Capsey says the women’s game has ‘come on leaps and bounds’ in recent years
Alice Capsey smiles, a little self-consciously, at the suggestion she has become the young figurehead of the new professional era propelling women’s cricket forward.
‘It’s a hard one because I don’t want to think about myself in all this,’ said England’s 19-year-old star all-rounder. ‘But I do think I’ve come into cricket at the perfect time and seem to have been in the right place whenever an opportunity has presented itself.
‘I still don’t think even now, nearly three years on from the start of the Hundred, I can really describe what’s happened to me. It’s been a whirlwind and it feels like every year I’ve had a new first. It’s been amazing and I’ve learnt so much.
‘Even thinking about what I’ve been involved in already, like an Ashes series, a World Cup and franchise competitions, feels pretty crazy.
‘The women’s game has come on in leaps and bounds and what it has done for my career makes me want to keep pushing it forward for everyone coming in now. It’s a really exciting time and we can make real progress with the momentum we’ve got.’
Alice Capsey, 19, has made a promising start to her career at international and domestic level
Capsey announced herself at the start of the first edition of the Hundred in 2021
It was at the start of the inaugural Hundred in 2021 that Capsey announced herself and proved why the new format would be so integral to the progress of the women’s game when she hit 59 off 41 balls in Oval Invincibles’ first derby against London Spirit.
Quickly it became clear that the precocious talent — first honed when trying to compete with her elder brother — was perfect for women’s cricket and, in particular, the big-hitting, enterprising direction in which it was attempting to travel.
‘I’ve always played the same way,’ Capsey tells Mail Sport ahead of England’s tour of India. ‘I got into sport by following my brother wherever he was playing and when you’ve got an older sibling you’re always competing.
‘That mindset has gone hand in hand with how I’ve played my cricket. I’ve always wanted to compete, always wanted to be the best and always wanted to win.’
Capsey’s philosophy is very much in tune with England’s under coach Jon Lewis, a Bazball disciple. ‘It’s about taking the game on, being brave and really entertaining,’ Capsey says.
‘We want to go on the front foot and move the game forward as much as we can. When I’m at my best I’m playing fearlessly and playing my way. I’m not thinking too much about what’s going on, just staying in a really simple mindset of ‘see ball hit ball’.
‘That has been how I go about my cricket and shows when people see me play at my best. It holds me in pretty good stead as a professional cricketer.
‘You know you fail more times than you succeed which can be draining and a hard thing to take but now I’ve got a pretty good understanding of where I’m at and what I’m working towards.
‘I’m just trying to stay level headed and keep everything in perspective.’ Now comes Capsey’s latest challenge when England take on India in a T20 series starting in Mumbai tomorrow, followed by a showpiece Test. It is the four-day game Capsey is particularly targeting, as one of the few things she has yet to achieve is a Test debut.
The 19-year-old is hoping to make her Test debut when England face India this month
Capsey has also impressed during her time with the Melbourne Stars in the Women’s BBL
‘It would be amazing to make my Test debut in India,’ says Capsey (left). ‘It sounds a bit surreal even saying it. I want to work as hard as possible to try to earn that spot because it would be a huge privilege.
‘You listen to how everyone else has spoken about playing Test cricket over the last couple of years and really trying to push it forward. The girls love it and it’s something I definitely want to do in the future.
‘We obviously don’t play much of it but it’s really important and there’s a real desire to play more of it and get better at it. It will only happen if we get the opportunities.’
One opportunity denied Capsey came last summer when she missed out on England’s Test match against Australia at Trent Bridge. It was the only game she was left out of in the multi-format Ashes series.
‘I’d have loved to have played in the Ashes Test but at the time the best team was picked,’ she says.
‘I probably wasn’t quite ready for it at that time but it was a pretty hard pill to swallow. You don’t want to miss out on games like that.
‘You want to play cricket for your country and you want to make every squad. So it was hugely disappointing but if anything it’s made me more hungry to put in the work in India and make my Test debut that way.’
Capsey is one of 18 players awarded an England Women central contract for the year ahead
She is considered a star in the making and her breakthrough has come at the right time for the sport
Whether she plays in the Mumbai Test or not the future looks bright for a top order batter and off-spin bowler with endless possibilities.
She is one of 18 players awarded an England Women central contract for the year ahead but where does this teenager see herself in five years time?
‘It’s a really hard question,’ she says. ‘You look at how fast the women’s game is accelerating and who knows where it will be then.
‘It’s so exciting and for me it’s about playing as much cricket as possible, learning as much as possible and evolving my game and improving. I’m not a great one for looking at personal accolades and goals. I’m more someone who marks myself on what I’m contributing to the team and if I’m doing my job.
‘I want to take it all in, surround myself with good people and take my game to the next level.’
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