The 21-year-old spinner is in line to make her global tournament breakthrough Down Under, seven months after surprising Australia on her international debut, bagging the wickets of Alyssa Healy in Ashleigh Gardner in one Ashes over.
And what better time for Villiers to enter the upper echelons of women’s cricket as the sport continues to go from strength to strength, aiming to break the world-record attendance for a women’s sport fixture when the final is held on 8 March at the MCG.
“It’s absolutely massive for me to be involved in a squad of this calibre at a World Cup,” said Villiers.
“It’s something I never thought I’d be a part of, and I can’t believe I’m out here now.
“Women’s cricket has come so far for this tournament to be so big and I have to keep reminding myself what the players before me have done.
“It’s easy to forget about it when you’re in the moment, but I have to keep reminding myself that people have sacrificed so much to pave the way for players like me to come through.
“My hero was probably Charlotte Edwards. She did so much not only for women’s cricket, but cricket in general and is a massive inspiration for all the girls of my era.”
Eleven years have passed since Edwards led her team to glory, with Villiers just ten years of age when the inaugural Women’s T20 World Cup was won on home soil.
This time she will be front and centre as one of four new England faces, with Freya Davies and Sarah Glenn also in line for their tournament debuts, while Lisa Keightley faces her first challenge at the coaching helm.
England have had a mixed bag of results in the run-up to the tournament (which begins this morning when hosts Australia take on India), beating Australia via a Super Over in the tri-series and storming to victory over New Zealand in their first warm-up.
Losing their final practice match to Sri Lanka by ten wickets was a setback but the underperformance isn’t a cause for concern for Villiers.
“We’re really close to being at our best,” she added.
“We just need to peak at the right times.
“The growth this team has made in the last few months under Lisa is fantastic and we just need to be really clinical in the moments that matter.
“We can beat any team on our day and we can go all the way.”
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