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News

Filer off to a flier with England after checking out of supermarket check-out

From life lessons working in a supermarket to learning from the best in the business for England quick

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
30-Mar-2024
Lauren Filer made her T20I debut in New Zealand  •  ECB via Getty Images

Lauren Filer made her T20I debut in New Zealand  •  ECB via Getty Images

From working in a Tesco supermarket to representing her country, Lauren Filer had seen more than many before making her England debut in last year's Women's Ashes.
Now part of a tour to New Zealand in which her side will embark on a three-match ODI series off the back of a dominant 4-1 victory in the T20I leg, Filer is still eager to learn everything she can.
"It was probably about a year and a half, maybe just over 18 months ago, I got sacked from my job in a supermarket and obviously I've not really looked back since," Filer said. "It's been a whirlwind 18 months or so, and I think having that background has sort of made me work even harder. I've not wanted to look back and I just want to keep growing."
Filer got the chop in the lead-up to Christmas 2022, ostensibly because she was spending too much time playing cricket, and not enough putting the shift-work in. However, hindsight clearly shows that her priorities were spot on.
"It's obviously a strange story, it's probably not similar to most other people," she said. "I feel like a lot of people come into cricket quite young and I was quite young, but I don't think I got necessarily the professional side of cricket until a year ago. So yeah, it's a bit strange, but it's so good to be where I'm now."
Filer turned just 23 in December but has been making the wider public sit up and take notice with her express pace since taking four wickets - two in each innings - on international debut against Australia in the Test which kicked off the Ashes last June.
"I think it was the professionalism coming into the game," Filer added. "I received a contract about five, maybe six, months before I got my England call-up, so I think that really helped. It made me have a winter where I could build up and use the coaches, use the skills and have training full-time.
"That really helped me progress within a few months of actually then being able to go to these England camps and try and show what I can do, and I think I did that. I obviously wasn't expecting the call-up at all during the Ashes, but when it happened it was great and England have supported me along with Western Storm through that. I just want to try and keep improving and getting better."
Filer made her T20I debut in the first match against New Zealand and remains wicketless so far from her two appearances there, but she is soaking up the experience of playing alongside the likes of Nat Sciver-Brunt and Sophie Ecclestone, who only returned to action for England from the fourth T20I after the WPL. Both were pivotal in a clinical five-wicket win in the fifth match in Wellington, reducing New Zealand to 69 for 5 before a maiden international half-century to 19-year-old Izzy Gaze gave the hosts some hope.
Sciver-Brunt then combined with captain Heather Knight for a 57-run partnership to reel in a modest target of 137, but it was with the ball that Sciver-Brunt was most damaging, taking two wickets in her first two overs as New Zealand lurched to 10 for 2.
"I saw Nat bowling in the warm-up and thought she'd have a good day," Filer said. "She was hitting line and length, swinging the ball and it just looked great, so when she started bowling and kept them down, I wasn't surprised at all.
"To have her bowl… especially in the powerplay is phenomenal and it's something you kind of take for granted when you're at the other end, especially when I'm probably one of the people that might leak runs a little bit more than that, so it's good to have someone like that at the other end.
"And obviously Eccles is again a great player. She doesn't really have a game without performing with either the ball or bat or taking an amazing catch, like she did off her bowling. They're both outstanding players and I think it's very hard to keep them out of the game when they do come back into an England shirt."
While team stalwarts Sciver-Brunt, Ecclestone and Knight have performed in New Zealand, England have continued to develop enviable depth, with Maia Bouchier leading the run-scoring for the series with 223 at an average of 55.75 and off-spinner Charlie Dean leading the wicket-takers with seven at 19.14. Both have been around the England set-up for some time but missed the Ashes, returning for last year's late-summer series against Sri Lanka, where Bouchier also made her ODI debut.
"I'm a relatively new, fresh face and I think we've had a few other fresh faces come in," Filer said. "The mighty Boosh [Bouchier], as we call her, she's in some great form, hitting loads of bombs, and with that and obviously with the senior players as well, we're heading in the right direction. I think we can only go up from here."

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women's cricket, at ESPNcricinfo

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