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Jenny Gunn MBE talks weather and cricket

Jenny Gunn MBE, England and Nottinghamshire cricketer, has written a guest blog for the Met Office about how the weather impacts cricket and how she and her team mates prepare for matches in different weather conditions.

'As a cricketer, I am very fortunate that I get to travel the world and visit some really interesting places with different climates. Before a tour, obviously we do a lot of training to prepare ourselves for the cricket itself - technical, tactical, mental and physical - but there's other preparation to be done that maybe you wouldn't necessarily expect...

Before we went out to Australia for our Women's Ashes series (the biggest contest in cricket, between England and Australia) in January we needed to try to pre-acclimatise for the conditions that we would be met with - from training during an English winter to playing in a hot Perth summer! Fortunately, the National Cricket Performance Centre at Loughborough University, where we do the majority of our training, has advanced climate control facilities, and we trained for months ahead of the tour with the heating on full blast! It definitely made the training hard, but in reality nothing was ever going to fully prepare us for the conditions once we got out to Perth. We were playing in 47 degree heat at the WACA, and I'm pretty sure that the girls running drinks on for the four days probably felt like they did more work than the players on the field! Winning the Test match in Perth was an amazing achievement, and I'm sure part of it was down to how we'd prepared for the heat and handled it so well.

Jenny Gunn MBE ©Getty images for ECB Jenny Gunn MBE (Getty images for ECB)

Another place where the weather has had a big effect on our cricket is the West Indies. When we toured there recently we played most of our games at night, which we were happy with, because it meant the temperature had fallen below 30 degrees. Playing at night however brings dew on the grass into play, and this made gripping the ball for bowling and throwing very difficult. To combat this and try to get used to it before the games, we would soak practice balls in water and rub sunscreen into the seam to try and make it a bit more slippery. This paid off and helped us win our first one day series against West Indies away from home.

We are playing India women this summer and even though we have just had a heat wave, the Indian players will still have their long sleeve jumpers on because English weather is so cold in comparison to their climate! Every time I travel to India I leave my jumpers and warm clothes at home! I've toured India several times during my England career, and although heat, humidity and dew all prove challenging, it was the smog that caused the biggest problem when we played in Mumbai. Nothing could have prepared us for that, and unfortunately it can really affect your cricket.

When we play in England, smog isn't such an issue, but the cricket still gets affected by overhead conditions, because it tends to rain quite a lot! We can't play in rain because although we always wear spikes, the square and outfield get wet and slippery, and playing on wet pitches can be dangerous and also damage the ground. It can also get dangerous with the ball becoming so greasy it's like bowling with a bar of soap. When there's sunshine and showers it can mean we are on and off the field all day which really interrupts the flow of games and we know how frustrating it is for spectators.

Anyone who knows me well will know that I have a massive phobia of thunder and lightning. With metal spikes on the bottom of our shoes, and metal in batters' helmets, it can be extremely dangerous playing cricket in lightning! My phobia is so bad that on a few occasions I have been known to have run off the field of play during a match!

Jenny Gunn MBE in the batting nets ©Getty images for ECB Jenny Gunn MBE in the batting nets (Getty images for ECB)

On my first ever England tour, to South Africa, I think we had a storm every day, and I wasn't at all mentally prepared to deal with it then. The storms were dramatic and scared lots of the team, which made me even more scared as all the other girls were screaming.

I'm much better in how I respond to storms these days, but my team mates still try to protect me. We were training at Loughborough a few weeks ago and the sky went black and all of a sudden there was a massive clap of thunder. Everyone just stopped and looked at me and attempted to explain it was a plane going over. Talk about pulling the wool over my eyes!

As already mentioned, we are playing India women this summer in a Test match from August 13-16 at Wormsley Cricket Ground, and three ODIs. Two of the ODIs are in Scarborough, and the last one is at Lord's, the Home of Cricket. We have also got three T20s in September against South Africa women, and more information about all of our matches can be found on the  England and Wales Cricket Board Website.'

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