Ashes 2023: England’s Emma Lamb says Australia are ‘human’ and ‘not perfect’

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Emma Lamb
Emma Lamb was taking part in a Chance To Shine schools event in Burnley

All-rounder Emma Lamb says playing alongside Australian players in global leagues has shown England the world champions are “not perfect”.

The Ashes rivals regularly mix in The Hundred, Big Bash and, most recently, the inaugural Women’s Premier League.

Australia will defend the Ashes they have held since 2015 in a multi-format series this summer.

“They are humans. It is within our reach to beat them. We just have to do everything well,” Lamb told BBC Sport.

Meg Lanning’s Australians have won three of the past four Ashes series, with one draw. Earlier this year they won their third successive T20 World Cup following a 2022 when they took the 50-over world title and Commonwealth Games gold.

Lamb, 25, added: “They are an incredible team who have achieved a lot in the last two years. They have a lot of talented players.

“Coming off the Women’s Premier League and some of the girls playing with them, we’ve come to the conclusion they are not perfect. We definitely have a chance of competing with them.”

England have been preparing for the Ashes with a three-day team-bonding trip in the Lake District.

The men’s version of the Ashes begins on 16 June with the first of five Tests, while the women’s competition, comprising a Test, three one-day internationals and three T20s, starts on 22 June.

Four points are on offer for winning the Test and two each for victory in a white-ball match.

For the first time in the UK, the women’s Test is taking place over five days, increasing the chance of a result and therefore the likelihood one of the teams will open up a big lead.

“It will create a lot of pressure,” said Lamb. “One team can go far ahead and another could be playing catch-up.

“It’s incredibly important. To get off to a good start gives really good momentum for the rest of the series.”

Lamb made her Test debut in the draw against South Africa last summer, making 38 opening the batting.

Targeting the opening spot once more, she is hoping to play in her first home Ashes series, having played one ODI in the defeat in Australia last year.

Lamb, who plays her domestic cricket for Thunder and Manchester Originals, is the sister of Lancashire all-rounder Danny.

Her journey towards playing an Ashes Test on home soil comes after she was denied the chance to play for the boys’ team at her school in Preston and faced hostility in men’s club cricket.

“I’ve had some bad experiences,” said Lamb. “There was once an older man who wrote a letter saying a female shouldn’t be playing men’s second-team cricket, which was rubbish. In the next game I got quite a big score and proved him wrong.

“I didn’t get the opportunity to play at school. My mum told me quite recently they wouldn’t let me play in the boys’ team – I didn’t know at the time. That’s quite sad.

“It’s now definitely changed. My cousin goes to the school I went to and she plays in the boy’s team.”

Lamb was speaking at a Chance to Shine schools event at St Mary’s Primary in Burnley, the former school of James Anderson.

Through partnerships with Chance to Shine and the Lord’s Taverners, the England and Wales Cricket Board is investing more than £4m this year to take cricket to around 7,500 primary schools and 700,000 children.

For the first time, a targeted programme will reach 55,000 children from under-served communities, and those attending special educational needs and disability schools.

“It’s really exciting because I don’t feel like I had loads of opportunities when I was younger,” she said.

“For me, playing cricket is also a social thing. It gives you skills like being part of a team and learning how to communicate.

“Making sure we’re giving children an opportunity now is really important.”

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