Issy Wong: ‘I think it’s a great time to play Australia’

Issy Wong: 'I think it's a great time to play Australia'

Issy Wong has entered the fray, claiming it’s not a terrible time to take on Australia Women with their multi-format series starting next month. England have fired the first shots, or attempted to, in time-honored tradition before of the men’s Ashes.

Wong made her debut in all three forms during South Africa’s tour of England last summer, and she hopes to play for England when the Ashes begin with a five-day Test beginning on June 22 at Trent Bridge.

I believe it’s a fantastic opportunity to play them softly, Wong added. “They are without a doubt one of the greatest athletic teams in history, regardless of the sport or the gender. Their track record over the past ten years is abhorrent.But it appears that their golden age is coming to an end. There are many new faces in that group who are incredibly brilliant but haven’t necessarily played the largest role for them over the last couple of years. You have Rach Haynes retiring, [Meg] Lanning walking away, then obviously coming back in amazing form. I believe this is an excellent opportunity to confront them and challenge them to prove that they are still as good as they were five years ago, despite the fact that they are the greatest team in history. I believe now is a fantastic moment to play.

She said, laughing out loud, “I’ve never played them though. I’ve seen them a lot on television, and they look fantastic.

Wong wasn’t a member of the England T20 World Cup team that lost to hosts South Africa in the semifinals before Australia won the tournament for the third time in a row, led by the player who returned to the game last year after a five-month absence, Lanning. Wong did, however, return to action in the first WPL, helping Mumbai Indians win the championship and finishing third in wicket-taking with 15 at 14.00, including a hat-trick in the semifinal match against UP Warriorz.

She believes that having played with and against them in the WBBL and the Hundred, where she will once again represent Birmingham Phoenix when the 2023 edition begins in August, has helped to demystify the Australians in some way. She had the opportunity to play against some of her potential Ashes opponents there.

Despite not having played them, Wong stated that he did not consider them to be “the Australians.” Beth Mooney and Alyssa Healy will bat first for them, Meg Lanning will bat at number three, and then [Tahlia] McGrath, [Phoenix teammate Ellyse] Perry, and [Grace] Harris will bat in that middle order. You’ve played against these players so frequently that you’ve gotten to know them and perhaps even learn their games, but at the end of the day, they’re still just people, and people can be good or bad.

Because more people are competing against one another internationally, the changing landscape and increased franchise content will actually level the playing field there.

‘Oh, don’t you think it will make international cricket less good if David Warner’s best friends with Jonny Bairstow because they start the batting for Sunrisers Hyderabad,’ people say. That, in my opinion, is ridiculous because it will really improve the competition greatly. These men are competing against people they are familiar with, and those are the finest matches because each player has to modify their strategy and approach things slightly differently. The game develops when players regularly compete against one another since they are working each other out. Wong’s remarks come just a week after Stuart Broad claimed that Australia’s 4-0 victory over England Men in their disastrous Ashes tour of 2021–22 didn’t count as “a real Ashes,” calling it instead a “void series” due to the Covid–19 restrictions it was played under, and six weeks after Ollie Robinson predicted that the team that has since reinvented itself under Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes could “give Australia a good hiding” this time around. However, they are no less brazen when facing an Australia Women’s team that hasn’t lost an Ashes series since 2013–14, lost just one game—to India in a Super Over—since 2022, and also holds the ODI World Cup.

When asked if she thought it was a good moment for her to play in the Ashes against the Australians, Wong replied, “In my perspective, yes. Also, I believe that this is a fantastic time for me to start up front for Liverpool. Does Jurgen Klopp concur with that statement? No. There are certain things you can control, and there are some things you can’t. My personality will always make me eager to participate, but I must exercise control over the variables within my power. I can decide if I’m up for it. Count on me. But, I suppose, you never know.

Wong received her maiden England call-up in the stalemate of the June 2017 Test match at Taunton against South Africa. She took three wickets overall, including two in two overs on the penultimate day, which was hampered by rain. She participated in the South African white-ball tour as well before participating in all of England’s games at the Commonwealth Games, where the hosts disappointedly finished fourth.

She missed the most recent WBBL due to a slight back problem and ECB workload management concerns before suffering a quadriceps injury that prevented her from traveling with England on their tour of the Caribbean and losing the opportunity to advocate for T20 World Cup selection in front of new coach Jon Lewis. Wong concurred that the WPL did give someone a platform to make a point after she was left off, but not in the way that one might anticipate.

Wong remarked, “Unfortunately for me this time, I wasn’t in their plans. They picked their group. I probably cried for a half-hour, or maybe I didn’t cry at all, but I felt bad for myself and licked my wounds, and then I had to get up and go to training. Therefore, there isn’t much I can do about it right now. However, before the WPL, I had three weeks at home where I could put in some serious work, hopefully advance a bit in my training, and then fly to India.

“I was eager to demonstrate my improvement, not because I should have played because if I had chosen the squad, my 14 closest friends and I would have done the same because that’s exactly how I would choose the squad, isn’t it? But it did a great job of demonstrating my progress over the previous four months and, hopefully, my future prospects for progress.