Katherine Brunt, the England and Yorkshire women’s pace bowler, will join the England Women’s squad on their current tour of Australia and New Zealand with a view to competing in the New Zealand leg of the tour.
The twenty-two year-old passed a fitness test at the National Cricket Performance Centre (NCPC) in Loughborough on January 29 and will fly out to join the squad in Sydney on February 12.
Brunt, who was named Player of the Series in the 2005 Ashes victory, has not played for England since 2006 when she pulled up with a back injury in the npower Test match against India at Grace Road.
She underwent rehabilitation for that injury and was bowling fully in the nets ahead of the Quadrangular series in Chennai in February and March last year, when she suffered a prolapsed disc and as a result was ruled out of the series.
She had conservative treatment initially, but that didn’t resolve the issue, so she underwent an intradiscal electrothermal shrinkage (IDET) procedure in early June last year to rectify the problem.
Brunt has undergone an intensive rehabilitation process since the operation working with specialists form the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the England Institute of Sport (EIS).
She has worked with the ECB Fast bowling coach, Kevin Shine on her bowling and has had access to all the latest analytical technology to ensure a full recovery.
Brunt will continue her rehabilitation in Australia alongside training with the full squad and head coach Mark Dobson is hoping she’ll be fully fit and available for the New Zealand leg of the tour.
“It’s good news to hear that Katherine will be joining us,” he said. “She’s a fine bowler and more than capable batter as well as a fierce competitor. She really does add a lot to the squad.
“She has shown her intent to return to the international scene by committing herself to an intensive recovery programme over the last twelve months.
“The chance to play in New Zealand is just reward for her efforts. I would be naïve to think that she can play in every game on that leg of the tour; it’s important that we ease her back in gently, but, that said she is a very determined character who will want to play a full role.”
On her return an excited Brunt commented: “I’m ecstatic to be getting back into cricket. Playing international cricket again is what I’ve been dreaming about and working towards since I got injured. All I’ve thought about since the injury is walking back over the ropes and start playing again.
“I obviously want to help England beat New Zealand on their tour over there and it’ll be great to join up with the girls to give them some support in Australia beforehand.
“It’s been a really tough twelve months for me. I’ve had to face up to some serious mistakes with how I’ve bowled and approached my game. I’ve faced up to them and amended my game accordingly. I’ve worked really hard to get back and had some great support along the way from the ECB and EIS, which I’m really grateful for.
“Hopefully from now until the World Cup next year I’m going to reach my peak, which I haven’t done yet in my career. There’s a lot more of me to come!”