CRICKETER Alex Hartley admits she is delighted to be back in the international fold - and hopes her call up to the Women’s Academy squad can lead to full England honours.

The 21-year-old off-spinner is among a 14-strong squad who will travel to the United Arab Emirates next month to compete against their Australian equivalents - the Commonwealth Bank Shooting Stars.


The tour consists of four 50-over matches and two Twenty20 internationals and Hartley is hoping to make her mark on the team, five years since she was last called into an international squad.

“Hopefully I will get a chance in Dubai and be able to prove myself,” said the Clitheroe star who turns out for Middlesex.

“If I do get a chance hopefully I can take it.

“Playing for England is still the aim and although I don’t see it happening in the next year or so perhaps in the next two or three years if I keep playing well.

“I was called up when I was 15 and then dropped when I was 16 so it’s great to be back in again.”

Hartley, who also plays for Clitheroe in local league cricket, is targeting a starting spot in the longer format of the game with the first of four 50-over matches taking place on April 2.

“We’ve got a strong squad going out there and the next challenge is to try and get in the team,” added Hartley.

“I think nine of the 14 players have been capped by England already or are contracted players so it will be tough to get in the squad.

“There are a couple of other left arm off spin bowlers in there so there is still plenty of competition.

“I am really looking forward to it and I think it is something I will remember for the rest of my life, even if I don’t play a game.

“Fifty-over cricket is what I have been playing well in and that is my game so I am focussing on trying to get into that side.

“I have never really played Twenty20 cricket for England before so my focus is on 50-over matches but the selectors could be thinking the complete opposite.”

And Hartley admitted the international call had come as a complete surprise, so much so that her parents refused to believe her when she broke the news.

“I told my mum and dad and they asked me why I was lying,” said Hartley.

“I can’t believe it.

“I didn’t want to answer the phone when it range because I was nervous but I am glad I did.

“I am just so surprised. I began to think it wasn’t going to happen so to get in the squad is brilliant.”

Hartley still lives in Read despite playing county cricket for Middlesex, although she is contemplating a move down south this summer.

She added: “I still play club cricket for Clitheroe and am still based in Read.

“I do a lot of my training in Manchester and Middlesex are very understanding about it.

“I might choose to live down there this year but it depends on commitments with England so we will just have to see how it goes.

“I am enjoying playing my cricket down there and it is going really well.”

Next month’s series will be played at the ICC Academy in Dubai.

The four 50-over matches will be played on April 2, 4, 6 and 8, followed by two Twenty20s on April 11 and 12.