Homegrown hero, Sarah Glenn, believes the close connection between the England Women’s team and The Incora County Ground crowd makes it one of the most enjoyable places to play international cricket.
Glenn, who is Derbyshire-born, could play for England at Derby for the first time since re-joining the county earlier this year, when the national side face Sri Lanka in their final home Vitality IT20 fixture of 2023.
England have only lost once at Derby since 2017 and are looking to build on a record-breaking summer, which has seen them hand Australia two white-ball series defeats during The Ashes, in front of capacity crowds across the board.
The England spinner says the opportunity to interact with the crowd at Derby makes it a great place to play international cricket, and says the whole squad will be looking forward to putting on a show against a strong Sri Lanka side.
“It’s a really special feeling, almost like you’re back playing for your Club side when everyone turns up and is behind you,” Glenn said.
“It’s not the biggest ground I’ve played at, but that makes it so special, because you’re so close to your fans, you can have conversations with them on your way to and from the changing room and you really feel like every voice is behind you.
“That has a really calming effect, being able to have little conversations with supporters and it motivates you to really go and entertain the young girls you’ve just spoken to. You just feel really connected to the supporters at Derby, in a way you don’t always at bigger grounds.
“Any international fixture I’ve played at Derby, I have felt right at home. I grew up around the area, I went to watch the Derbyshire men’s side regularly and watched England Women at the 2017 World Cup. So when I see young kids watching us now, I think back to when that was me and it’s a really nice feeling.
“I didn’t realise until the other day, this will be my first time playing for England at Derby since I re-joined Derbyshire and that’s a really special twist for me.
Glenn could be joined on the field by fellow Cricket Derbyshire Foundation Women and Girls’ Pathway graduate, Bess Heath, who has been named in the England squad for the first time after showing off her big-hitting prowess across all formats over the last few seasons.
Heath, 22, and Glenn, 24, developed alongside eachother in the Derbyshire system and have both become key players for teams both domestically and around the world.
With the prospect of playing alongside Heath for England on the horizon, Glenn says it would be something she would cherish and hopes the wicketkeeper-batter can show exactly how good she is on the international stage.
“Playing alongside Bess at Derby would be amazing, it would be one of the highlights of my career so far,” she added.
“She’s such a talented player, I can remember being so scared to bowl at Bess in the nets when we were growing up, even though I was twice as tall as her, because she hits the ball so hard. It would be awesome to see her do that in an England shirt.
“It’s funny, when I watch Bess play for the Northern Diamonds or the Superchargers, it’s like I’m watching her back at Derbyshire when we were playing together, so having her in the England squad will almost make me feel more at home.”
England face a Sri Lanka side boasting the likes of Chamari Athapaththu, who was recently ranked as the number one ODI batter in the world, before being overtaken by England’s Nat Sciver-Brunt during The Ashes.
Glenn has experience of Athapaththu’s quality first-hand, having played in the same Loughborough Lightning side as her during the 2019 Kia Super League, the same year that Glenn would make her international debut.
The England bowler says Sri Lanka will pose a tough test for England, and is expecting Athapaththu to play a key role in the series.
“I’ve actually played alongside Chamari Athapaththu in the Kia Super League, I’ve bowled a lot at her in the nets and I can tell you it’s not a pleasant experience,” Glenn said.
“She takes charge of that team and she’s a great motivator, she gets the whole team behind her and there’s some real class in that Sri Lanka side, so I think it will be a real challenge.
“We need to throw the first punch, so to speak, and play that entertaining style of cricket. Hopefully we’ll see some new faces in the team and that can bring great energy to our games.”