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Women’s cricket Ecclestone set for England return in T20 opener in India

SOPHIE ECCLESTONE will make her England comeback in today’s T20 series opener against India, with captain Heather Knight declaring the spinner “fit and firing” after four months out.

The world number one white-ball bowler needed surgery after dislocating her shoulder in August while taking part in the Hundred, missing the home series against Sri Lanka and the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia.

But she stepped up her recovery during England’s recent training camp in Oman and is ready to return to action at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.

“Sophie has missed a bit of cricket with the injury she had but she’s going to be fit and firing, so I’m looking forward to seeing her bowl,” Knight said.

“I don’t think bowling will be an issue, she’s been doing really well, but fielding there might be a bit of nervousness. I’ve had injuries myself where it’s about getting over trusting your body.

“I’m sure in the heat of battle Sophie will be fine, she’s tracking really well in training, diving around and things like that, but we’ll keep a close eye on her because she’s obviously a key player for us.”

England have not toured India since 2019 but Knight was among a handful of players who played in the country’s inaugural Women’s Premier League and believes it is the perfect place for her side to develop.

“It feels a long time since we’ve been to India, but now the WPL is a staple in the calendar there’s going to be a lot of cricket here for English players,” she said.

“I always feel I learn a lot about my game playing in Indian conditions. It really tests you as a cricketer in terms of skill level, how you deal with the noise, the heat and the other things that tend to happen in Indian tours.

“It’s a really good place to accelerate development and I’m excited to see how we cope with it.

“I’m really excited to see what sort of crowd we get too. Hopefully we get a few in after the WPL earlier in the year and we can silence the crowd, if there is one.”

England have one doubt for the series opener, with Charlie Dean set to sit out due to illness.

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