Winfield-Hill confident the good times are ahead

Lauren Winfield-Hill is confident good times are ahead for her with the Northern Diamonds and England.

The Yorkshire star says her game is “in better order than it’s ever been”.

She scored an unbeaten 140 in an England intra-squad game in early May and then 110 for the Diamonds in Saturday’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy defeat against Central Sparks at Emerald Headingley.

The latter was a particularly special moment for the opener from Stamford Bridge given it was the first domestic women’s century at Headingley following three in Test cricket there: “It was a bucket list moment for me,” she said.

Winfield-Hill’s form will hopefully be enough to win selection for England’s sole summer Test Match against India at Bristol on June 16, with another chance to impress coming tomorrow when the Diamonds face Sunrisers in Cambridge.

It would be the fourth Test appearance of her career.

“I feel like I’m in a position where there’s not much more I can do,” she continued.

“My game’s in good order on the back of a couple of big scores, which is what selectors and coaches look for. If it’s not to be, it’s not to be.

“I feel like I can accept whatever happens because I’m in a good place and am playing as well as I have for a long time. That’s a nice place to be.”

Winfield-Hill recently revealed a 20-month battle with Crohn’s disease, something she has only worked out how best to manage in the last few months.

“I’ve had a few bits going on behind the scenes with medical stuff,” she said.

“I’ve been battling a bit in that regard, and my recent cricket’s been stop-start.

“It’s quite hard mentally when you don’t know when you’ll get a run of games. That puts more pressure on when you do get a chance.

“This year, I know I’m going to play a lot of cricket whether it’s for England or the Diamonds. That has just freed up my mind because it’s not do or die for selection.

“Before, I was just putting too much pressure on myself because there weren’t enough games to feel like, ‘If it doesn’t work out in this one game, I’ll get plenty more’. I didn’t get plenty more.

“I played around 10 games in 14 months up to the start of this season. Put that into perspective, the guys get that in five Championship games!

“It’s not an excuse for not playing that well in the past, but I don’t think I quite realised how bad I was feeling both mentally and physically, not being able to push myself.

“I got myself into quite a poor mental health space on the back of feeling quite sick and fatigued a lot.

“I didn’t quite realise how badly I felt until I started feeling better again. I feel like a proper athlete again and am positive about things.

“It’s not the sole reason I haven’t played my best cricket, but I’ve been quite sick on every trip that I’ve been on up until New Zealand in January.

“It’s little things like in the tri-series before the last World Cup (early 2020), I was due to a play a warm-up game and bat a bit higher, which might have been a breakthrough for me. But I got sick for three days and my chance had gone.

“I now feel like my game’s in better order than it’s ever been. I feel young again and excited about the future.

“I may be in the second half of my career, but it feels like a fresh start.”

Winfield-Hill, aged 30, has played 86 times for England across all formats since debuting in summer 2013 and has scored just over 1,500 runs.

There are surely many more internationals caps to come. But if that is not to happen immediately with a call-up to face India, she is comfortable with that scenario given the cricket ahead with the Diamonds.

“It’s a lovely position to be in to know that if things don’t go your way with England, there’s still something worthwhile underneath with this new set-up we have,” she added.

“Going back to county cricket in the past, England were never that keen for you to go and play in it because the standard wasn’t going to benefit you in any way.

“Now, you can go up and down and your game is still benefiting and moving forwards.”


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