As Charlotte Edwards prepares to play in her ninth Women’s Ashes series the Kent and England captain insists she feels better than ever.
The 35-year-old first encountered the Aussies in 1998 when the teams drew the series – Edwards making her maiden half-century in only her second Test match.
Since then she has guided England to World Cup and World T20 Championship glory, plus four Ashes series’ wins and bagged a host of individual honours.
Yet Edwards says her desire to win is as strong as ever, adding: "I didn’t expect to still be going now – I certainly didn’t expect my knees to be going this long,” speaking as she launched Royal London’s summer of cricket.
“But I feel as fit and I’m playing as well as I ever have done, so as long as I continue to keep performing at the highest level I will carry on.
“The most important thing is to have the desire to play, to get up and want to do the training, and I’ve got that in abundance at the moment. So I’m just enjoying every year as if it’s my last."
She claimed: "The women’s game is now unrecognisable to the game I started playing. I played my first Test match in a skirt, and now I’m a professional.
“It’s been a wonderful journey and I can tell the young girls playing now how lucky they are.
“To think we’ve got girls now playing in the Lancashire League and performing is great, and we’re setting new records every year.
“It’s good that girls can see that England Women are successful, I certainly didn’t know that at their age.”
The original Test series format was shaken up in 2013, with the destination of the Ashes now decided by a points-based system which took into account the results of limited overs games.
And, this year, there has been a further modification with the winners of the Test match - to be held at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, in Canterbury from August 11 - now receiving four points rather than six, with two points on offer to the victor of each limited overs match.
Each match of the series will also be televised live on Sky Sports for the first time, and Edwards is excited about the way the women’s game is moving forwards.
“It’s going to be a great series. You’ve got the two best teams in the world, and both teams are desperate to win,” she added.
“It will be a great contest and I’m confident on home soil we’ll do well, as we’ve done well against them here in the past.
“I really like the changes they’ve made to the series. I think the four points for the test is a good addition and having the Test in the middle is a good move too.”
Charlotte Edwards was speaking at the launch of the Royal London Gilbert Cup, a new grassroots U11 cricket tournament. www.royallondoncricket.com