England Women head coach Lisa Keightley praises her side after ODI series win

England Women head coach Lisa Keightley hailed her side’s “exciting summer” after they capped off the fixture-packed season with a 4-1 one-day international series win over New Zealand

Heather Knight’s team’s summer started with a Test match against India in a multi-format series which mirrored that which will be used for the women’s Ashes in Australia this winter.

England sealed victory against India in the final T20 international of the series before the players took part in the inaugural Hundred competition. A three-match T20 series against New Zealand followed, with England winning 2-1, before the summer was brought to an end by five ODIs with the Kiwis.

“It’s been really exciting, hasn’t it? We’ve loved having more cricket even though the players at times get really tired and I suppose have moments of decisions they make. They look quite tired but I think that will improve the more we get used to playing this much cricket,” Keightley said.

“It was great to have a Test match upfront, the India series. Having it in the format of the Ashes is really exciting, it keeps the cricket alive all the way through, you see players play under pressure for long periods of time.

“I think the Hundred is going to move cricket in England forward really quickly and players are going to stand up through that and put their hand up for selection in the England squad and teams and then to finish with another series.

“Five one-dayers was fantastic leading into the World Cup. The more we can play it, the more we can have a look at things.”

It was the busiest summer ever for the England internationals, with the Hundred replacing time they would have spent in domestic cricket but which adds to the professionalisation of the sport.

“The girls need a break. One thing that we’ve seen this year is that we’ve had two internationals and the Hundred in the middle where the players are used to going from an international series back into domestic cricket and then we’ve got the back end,” Keightley said.

“Then with the Hundred – they’re on telly all the time in internationals and then you go to the Hundred and you’ve got to perform and games come really quickly and then you go straight over and into the international series.

“So I think that’s new with the players and they’re not used to it and we got through it but I think at times players struggled with a bit of mental fatigue and they’ve got to get used to it because it’s only going to be like that moving forward.”

England have no more series until the women’s Ashes in Australia this winter after the controversial decision to cancel the joint men’s and women’s tour of Pakistan, and Keightley stressed the importance of the build-up.

“It’s a really crucial time and we’ve got to make sure that we get it right. I think we got the build-up right to the India series with the Test match and the format,” she said.

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