England record-breaker Ecclestone: I didn’t realise I’d taken that many wickets

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England record-breaker Ecclestone: I didn’t realise I’d taken that many wickets

Sophie Ecclestone remembers her first T20I wicket being from a full toss on her England debut against Pakistan. Eight years and 116 more wickets later, she stands alone as her country’s leading wicket-taker in the shortest format.

The slow left-armer’s first wicket, a caught and bowled of Muneeba Ali, in Friday’s series-clinching 65-run win in Northampton saw her pass the mark previously held by England great Katherine Sciver-Brunt, and she went on to finish with figures of 3-11 after mopping up the tail to seal the win.

It is a remarkable achievement for Ecclestone, who is still only 25, although she admitted she was not aware she was closing in on the record of her former team-mate and one of her idols when she was a young cricketer making her way at Alvanley CC back home in Cheshire.

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Sophie Ecclestone becomes England’s leading T20 international wicket-taker with her 115th as she dismisses Pakistan’s Muneeba Ali.

“I had no idea!” Ecclestone admitted. “I’m not good with stats, but when I saw the screen I didn’t realise I’d taken that many wickets.

“Katherine was great; she was someone I looked up to when I was young and I got her autograph a couple of times.

“To overtake her is a bit surreal, but I’m really proud of myself. I think she’ll be absolutely fuming, to be honest – but I think she’ll be really happy for me.

“We got on really well when we played on the same team and we’re both real hot-heads on the field and love to wear our hearts on our sleeve. I think she’ll be made up for me, but also slightly fuming.”

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Sophie Ecclestone wraps up England’s victory against Pakistan as the hosts win by 65 runs to complete a 2-0 series victory.

Despite Ecclestone reaching the milestone, it was Alice Capsey who earned the player of the match accolade for her 31 with the bat and bowling figures of 2-4 as England took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, which concludes in Leeds on Sunday.

At 19, Capsey is still very much at the start of her career even with 28 and counting T20I caps already to her name, and Ecclestone has no doubt the right-arm offbreak spinner has the potential to surpass her mark one day should she be given more opportunities with the ball.

“Absolutely, probably yeah,” Ecclestone said. “I think I told her today ‘Are you going to take some wickets so you can get a bowl?’ and she said ‘Shall I warm up?’.

“I said ‘Go and warm up’, and then she came into bowl and took one with her first ball. I’m absolutely buzzing for her, I think she’s under-used sometimes, but she’s quite young.

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Highlights of the second T20I between England and Pakistan at the County Ground.

“It will be quite nice to see what she’s got in the future.”

Ecclestone is not one to pay too much attention to personal statistics though, with her sights being firmly set on World Cup and Ashes glory with the England team.

Above all though, her main focus is making sure she retains the enjoyment of playing cricket which set her on her journey in the first place, however many more wickets she ends up taking in what still remains of her career.

“I’m 25 but my body doesn’t feel 25 sometimes,” Ecclestone joked. “But I think it’s exciting and a massive thing for me is I keep enjoying it.

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“The reason I started playing cricket is because I enjoyed it and when times get tough away from home or family, just realise why I’m there.

“I’m not much of a stats person, so as long as the team is winning and we win a World Cup or the Ashes, I don’t really care what my stats are, to be honest.”

Watch the third and final T20I of the series between England and Pakistan live on Sky Sports Cricket from 12.30pm on Sunday (first ball 1pm). Also stream with NOW.

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