Langston hails England's ability to keep World Cup dream alive



Beth Langston has hailed England’s ability to keep their World Cup dream alive following a disastrous start to the competition, which saw them lose their opening three games.


Katherine Brunt, Nat Sciver and Lauren Winfield-Hill et al have qualified for the semi-finals, where the defending champions will play South Africa in Christchurch on Thursday (2am UK).


“They’ve done brilliantly to come back after the start they had,” said Northern Diamonds’ fast bowler Langston.


“They had some tough opposition first up, but the way they’ve played when every game has effectively been a knockout game should leave them in a really good place.


“Tournaments like this are about peaking at the right time.


“You don’t want to be playing your best cricket at the start and then fizzle out towards the end. And they are peaking now.”


Should England reverse an early tournament defeat to South Africa, they will play the winners of the other semi-final between Australia, the favourites, and the West Indies.


It would be quite the story if, after a winter of coming out on the wrong side against the Aussies in the Ashes and at the start of this World Cup, England were able to reverse the trend at just the right time.


In many ways, it would be typical of the weird and wonderful nature of sport, if England were to triumph on the back of five winter defeats to Australia.


Langston was in Australia for the Ashes as part of the shadowing England A squad.


“The games against Australia have been close,” she said.


“It’s not like they’ve been thrashed by them. They just need to have a good day at the office and Australia a bad one if they get that chance. Fingers crossed!”


Talk of peaking at the right time brings us back to Diamonds’ matters.


They are in the latter stages of their pre-season preparations for the start of the 2022 regional campaign on May 14.


And part of that involved a squad bonding day last week when they took on a walk up Whernside, one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks.


“We’ve done a few different things to shake it up in training,” said Langston. “We’ve also been doing a lot of yoga and boxing.


“Everyone enjoyed it (Whernside) and completed it.


“The winter has gone really well, but we’re all just looking forward to getting stuck into the season now.”


The season starts with a trio of Charlotte Edwards (T20) Cup games between May 14 and May 21.


After an opening day trip to face Lightning in Loughborough, the Diamonds travel to Sale to face Thunder (May 18) before hosting Southern Vipers at Durham.


The latter two fixtures have extra significance due to the cross-Pennine rivalry with the Thunder and the fact the Diamonds and the Vipers have been the two strongest teams in the opening two years of regional cricket.


“It’s important we get off to a good start, which would set the season up for us,” continued Langston.


“And to have two of our rivals in that first week makes it that bit more exciting.


“It’s been a great achievement for us to qualify for all of the three finals, but we’d love to win now.


“We’re feeling quietly confident, but we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves.


“We’ve got a bit of a different playing group this year having lost a few girls. That will give others a chance to step up and show they can play and perform at this level.


“One of the strengths we have is that it’s not just one or two people who have dominated for our team. We’ve had different players step up, showing we have that strength in depth.


“It’s been great to see people step up like Rachel Slater did last summer.


“It shows that you’re not just an automatic selection and you have to fight for your place, which is a good place for a team to be in.”


Last season, leg-spinner Katie Levick described the quality and depth of the Diamonds’ bowling as the squad’s “super strength”. And Langston is right at the heart of that.


In the last two seasons, the seamer has claimed 29 wickets in 18 appearances, and is looking to build on that form after spending part of this winter away on tour with the England A squad in Australia.


“It was a great experience and good to be involved in that set-up again,” said the 29-year-old, who played six senior internationals for England between 2013 and 2016.


“It’s nice to be recognised for having a good season with your region.”


Langston has become accustomed to taking the new ball for the Diamonds, but during six appearances - four wickets - Down Under, she was used more as a first change bowler.


“It’s always good to have a go at a new role, to be a versatile player,” she reflected. “You don’t just want to be getting too comfortable doing the same thing for every team you play.


“I have settled into that role with the new ball with the Diamonds, but if someone was performing better than me there or we wanted to change our plans according to who we’re playing, then it does give us another option.


“In terms of performance (in Australia), I guess it was a little disappointing.


“I didn’t get the game time I would have liked, but there was a large squad and a lot of rotation with the Ashes and World Cup selection in mind. That was understandable.


“But to be outside playing during the winter is always nice.”

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