Celebrating Pride with England Cricket’s Nat Sciver-Brunt
This summer, Nat Sciver-Brunt will be leaving an indelible mark on the Pride celebrations, and we sat down to hear more
It certainly rings true that Nat Sciver-Brunt, the England cricket mainstay and newest Vitality ambassador, often misses out on Pride because of training.
Talking on the eve of Pride as the light begins to fade after a day of red-ball practice, it’s evident that match prep leaves little time for celebration.
Nat recalls coming close to Sydney Madi Gras while on tour once some years ago, though. But the outcome was one similar to today. Bypassing a parade as match preparation ensues.
The drawbacks of being a professional sportswoman *sigh*. But being the dedicated professional she is, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“If I could be there, I would love to be at an event and walk down the street with everybody and just feel like you are part of something bigger,” says Nat.
“That would be really special”.
A proud wife
Nat married wife Katherine and former England cricket teammate in May 2022 after a longer than expected engagement hampered, like so many, by Covid.
Despite taking longer than they envisaged to tie the knot, their nuptials were full of firsts. Foremost that they would become England cricket's first same-sex couple, both playing for England as a couple, and professionally they would take each other’s surnames.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Nat joked that she might take on more of her wife’s trademark “aggressive” style in her cricket under the name Sciver-Brunt.
The ‘Natmeg’, a shot synonymous with her cricket game, whereby she hits the ball through her legs with unwavering skill, will remain in her own name, however.
But while totally at home with her marital status, striking a balance among the team was the trickier thing to navigate.
“When you’re together and in a team together it can affect other people and we never really wanted it to bring a divide or have any anxiety around us being together and being in the team,” recalls Nat.
“We made sure that we kept [our relationship] separate; that when we were at cricket, we are professional cricketers and […] then when we had more downtime, we could be us.”
And Nat doesn’t miss a beat when asked if she’s found support in the cricket community. “Absolutely,” she says.
“We go on tour four, five, six weeks at a time and [the team] become your family while you’re away from your actual family, and having their support is something that was really important to me and to Katherine as well.”
Find where you fit in
Inadvertently, while talking, we come to realise the parallels between being part of a team, such as the one Nat has played a vital role in for almost a decade, and the LGBT community.
“Everyone is there with the same intention,” says Nat. “To support one another and have a great time”. A statement that rings true just as much for Pride as it does cricket.
“To come together and be part of something bigger, you get that feeling that you are not alone, and you have support, and that’s a really nice thing to be reminded of,” she says of the epic LGBTQ+ celebration.
“It’s a really special thing to me, to bring that community together, where you might not feel it normally when you’re on your own or struggling with your own identity or even if you are comfortable with being part of the LGBT community.
“If people are trying to find where they fit in that can be somewhere they can find a home where they thought they might not,” says Nat.
And employing a safe environment for people to be themselves is what makes a successful team in cricket and beyond.
“A lot of the time, people who might be afraid to be honest about who they are is probably due to not feeling safe or feeling like they can be honest with you and feeling valued,” adds Nat.
“It’s about giving that space to anyone who wants to be open and honest, and put themselves out there to be vulnerable.”
And it's something her team is constantly working on. “We’re going through that with our team at the moment, learning how to be honest and open, and vulnerable with each other.
“It’s still difficult when you’re trying to perform all the time, or certainly try and act like you’re not afraid or not feeling vulnerable.
“But actually, giving space for people to feel comfortable to do that, it’s really important and it will bring everyone closer together and that’s really what we’ve seen with our team that given the time, space and the tools, we are able to do that, and it will bring us closer as a side.”
Her own Pride
Nat might be absent from a Pride parade but that doesn’t mean we won’t see her on-screen to mark the occasion.
Alongside Katherine, they will read two stories for the much-loved CBeebies Bedtime Story programme for Pride month.
In a profound first move for the show, they become the first-ever LGBT couple to read for the programme, joining other A-list Bedtime readers from Tom Hardy to the Princess of Wales, not to mention another Vitality ambassador, Jessica Ennis-Hill.
When she’s not rubbing shoulders with royalty, Nat is preparing for her Herculean summer of cricket – just The Hundred and Women’s Ashes to contend with – hence our evening call.
“We’ve got some tricky tasks ahead, the Australians coming over, but this summer it feels really big, it feels important and it’s exciting that so many tickets have already been sold,” says Nat.
“We’re being marketed the same as the guys and we’re playing at the same time as the guys and it really feels like it’s England versus Australia, but it’s the whole of England.”
Regardless of whether she'll have time to make the most of The Pride celebrations in person next year, no doubt Nat will have more than enough to feel proud about by the time it rolls around again.
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