Meet Sarah Glenn, England’s new leg-spinning sensation

March 1, 2020 | By

It’s taken England’s Sarah Glenn fewer than 200 balls to prove she’s the answer to a search that has gone on for a generation. Just look at her nickname.

Glenn’s England team-mates call her ‘word count’ because she fits a lot of words into a small space, a tag she only found about from a dish-the-dirt video on social media.

A cheap bit of dressing-room chat, perhaps, but also a neat reflection of the speed of the 20-year-old’s rise as one of the breakout stars of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020.

“We’ve been desperate for a leg-spinner, and now we’ve finally got one,” says batter Tammy Beaumont, referring to a long quest that kept former coach Mark Robinson up at night.

There’s no risk of Glenn getting carried away. Her choice of cricketing hero – Derbyshire county stalwart Wayne Madsen – is one marker of a down-to-earth personality. She was home-schooled, and still plays at full-back for Belper Hockey Club.

But the spinner has the spirit of a romantic, emboldened by watching England lift the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup at Lord’s in 2017 that it could be her one day.

One of Lisa Keightley’s first decisions in the England job was to bring Glenn into the squad for a debut series against Pakistan in November, where she took four wickets in three games.

So impressive were her performances in domestic cricket for Loughborough Lightning that the message from the England camp in Malaysia was simply: more of the same, please.

“I just had a basic plan in the Super League and when I discussed that with England at before heading out to Malaysia, they agreed to just keep it the same,” she said.

“The message was to keep it basic, and I’m still working on variations as I go along to naturally bring into my game, so that’s the role I’m trying to play.
“Instead of telling me to change this, change that, I think they’ve just told me to keep it quite simple and backed me.”

Nowhere is leg-spin more costly in T20I cricket than Australia, but bounce on offer has been a boon for the youngster and her stump-to-stump modus operandi is proving potent.

Glenn is teak-tough and has an uncanny knack of coming back from being hit for boundaries. In the tri-series tussle with Australia, the ball after being carted for six by Ellyse Perry, she fired in a quicker, flatter one and caught the star all-rounder plumb in front.

It was the same in the pressure of tournament play against Pakistan, flighting one to catch Javeria Khan in two minds and bowl the opener the ball after being hit for a boundary.

“I’ve learnt to try not to beat myself up about boundaries,” said Glenn. “I’m trying to learn to focus on the next ball and park it.”

Defending 123 against South Africa was always going to be a case of pushing water up a hill but Glenn helped stem the tide, added flight helping her outfox Marizanne Kapp.

“She’s not a big turner of the ball, but she’s accurate for a leg-spinner,” says former England skipper Nasser Hussain. “She’s impressive and leg-spin isn’t an easy skill.”

Leg-spin continues to be an enduring asset to teams at the T20 World Cup, with India’s perfect record inspired by Poonam Yadav.

It’s harder to spot among the bigger nations, but Glenn carries with her something of Thailand’s sheer enthusiasm that has so charmed the tournament.

She says: “I watched some video clips, of Shane Warne maybe, and decided on leg-spin because it seemed more fun.”

There might be a girl out there one day who says the same about Sarah Glenn.

Courtesy: ICC

Staff Reporter

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