Fast bowler Issy Wong says being left out of England’s T20 World Cup squad gave her the chance to improve before she starred in the inaugural Women’s Premier League for Mumbai Indians.
Wong was only named as a traveling reserve in South Africa in February as England reached the semi-finals but the seamer was a key figure in India a month later for WPL champions Mumbai.
The 20-year-old claimed 15 wickets in 10 games, including a three-wicket haul against Delhi Capitals in the final after bagging a hat-trick against UP Warriorz two days earlier.
Wong, who was signed by Mumbai for £30,000, told Sky Sports’ Daggers and Lyds Podcast: “When I got the call [about missing the T20 World Cup] I was devastated and I probably had half an hour of, ‘this is rubbish’ and after that I was like, ‘oh, I’d better go to training!’.
“I had a month or so where I could just work hard. Not just work hard to bowl at [New Zealand’s] Sophie Devine or get [Australia’s] Alyssa Healy out. It was work hard to make Issy Wong better.
“I was fresh [ahead of the WPL] and feel like it was an opportunity for me to say, ‘I’ve listened to your feedback, I am not disagreeing with it but this is what I’ve done about it.’
“Before the auction, I was like, ‘maybe I will get picked’ but then I thought, ‘why would they want me if I haven’t been picked for the World Cup?’ but it did happen.
“I was quite aware I was a bit of a gamble, which gave me a push to say, ‘right, let’s put that last bit of hard work in and give Mumbai a thank you almost.’
‘I get to do the thing that I love for a living’
Wong’s England and Mumbai team-mate Nat Sciver-Brunt was sold for £320.00 in the auction, with Australia all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner purchased by Gujarat Giants for the same price and India opener Smriti Mandhana picked up by Royal Challengers Bangalore for a tournament high £340,000.
On players receiving large sums of money and performing in front of big crowds, Wong said: “It’s the way the women’s game is moving forward and it’s just cool, isn’t it?
“We are talking about it like it’s this skull-crushing pressure but in the grand scheme of life it’s not a bad problem to have. I always try to keep that perspective.
“I was bringing my bin back in the other day – I don’t put them out, I bring them in – and my next-door neighbor was chatting to me as she and her kids had been watching the WPL.
“She said it must be hard with the pressure and so many people watching but I said I look at it as I get to do the thing that I love for a living, so there is not actually that much pressure at all.
“I started playing because I love it and now I get to do that all the time. How good is that!? As long as I keep looking at it like that, then fingers crossed it will be alright.”
Wong has played 13 matches for England across the formats, with her debut coming in June of last year in the one-off Test against South Africa at Taunton.
The seamer spoke of his passion for the red-ball format on the Daggers and Lyds Podcast, where she also revealed why she is no fan of the Mankad dismissal, which sees a bowler run out a batter at the non-striker’s end if they have left their crease.
Wong said: “[Test cricket] is right up there and that has only enhanced as I have grown up. Multi-format series are the way forward, like we had against South Africa last summer.
“It was good to have that Test match at the start and I think it set up the rest of the series. You went into the first ODI and you had played against these guys for four days.
“I loved it. You got fed every two hours, you get to sleep when the batters were going in. It was great!”
Wong: I don’t like Mankads
Wong added: “I am not a fan [of Mankads]. If I’m a bowler and my biggest issue is what’s happening at the non-striker’s end and not backing myself to get a wicket, I have got to give my head a wobble.
“My other issue is that it never happens at the start or in the middle of a game, it always happens when it’s like, ‘oh my god, we’ve tried everything else, we are going to have to do this.’ That’s where it doesn’t sit quite right.
“I know there has been talk of penalty runs, five or six if you are leaving your crease early, and that could be a compromise. But I don’t like [Mankads].”
Wong will play for Birmingham Phoenix once again in the 2023 edition of The Hundred, live in full on Sky Sports this August.