10Cric IPL

ICC Women’s World Cup: Mithali Raj says her squad is adapting well to English conditions

Mithali Raj during press conferenceEngland begins its ICC Women’s World Cup campaign in Derby and bids to win the tournament for the third time on home soil.

England won the inaugural event in 1973 when it was host and again in 1993.

And Heather Knight’s side goes into the tournament in good form having convincingly won all its warm-up games.

And Knight – who is fit to lead the team after recovering from a metatarsal stress fracture on her left foot – is pleased her side is in good form ahead of the tournament opener in Derby.

Knight said: “As a team we have really tried to embrace that it is a home World Cup and we know that brings added pressure but we are in a good place to deal with that.

“There is bound to be pressure. It’s going to be one of the most visible World Cups. Pressure comes with that, but as a team we try and embrace that. There is bound to be nerve. We are all human at the end of the day.

“How we deal with those, and use the pressure to our advantage. That’s what you train for. You want to play in front of people watching you, you want that pressure, and you want to perform under pressure. So, as a side we are trying to go and relish it.

“We have a lot of strength and depth in this squad, we had a convincing win against New Zealand in the last warm-up game and we had three of our most capped players on the bench, so that is a nice thing to have.

“India is a very good side and has some old stalwarts in its squad and some wise heads like Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami, who have been around for a long time and it also has some exciting young players coming through.

“They have a lot of spin bowling in their line-up, they only have three seamers in their squad, so we are aware of that.

India beat Sri Lanka in its last warm-up game but suffered a seven wicket defeat to New Zealand in its previous game.

But captain Mithali Raj is happy with how the preparations for the tournament have been going and is confident India will put in a good performance.

She said: “We played well in the Quadrangular series in South Africa, but the conditions in England are very different.

“The girls are adapting to the conditions very well, a couple of the batters are in good form and bowlers are finding their momentum, so we are a very confident unit.

“We have a very talented set of players, we have done very well at home and also on tours. We have done well in Australia and South Africa and this team is able to win series outside of India and that is a very positive thing.

“Playing the host nation in the first game definitely brings pressure with it, but they will have their own pressure playing at home.

“When you come to England, It is important that you get adjusted to the conditions. They are not very easy conditions for any cricketer. Sometimes it seems like they are good batting tracks but sometimes they assist the bowlers too.
“England is a very good team and has a lot of very experienced players who have been part World Cups and finals in the past.

“India has a lot of players who are playing in their first World Cup so there will be some nerves. But once we get out on the field we will block all that out and focus on the game.”


England: Heather Knight (captain), Tamsin Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Georgia Elwiss, Jenny Gunn, Alex Hartley, Danielle Hazell, Beth Langston, Laura Marsh, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield and Danielle Wyatt.

India: Mithali Raj (captain), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Mona Meshram, Nuzhat Parween, Shikha Pandey, Punam Raut, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma and Poonam.

Umpires – Ahsan Raza and Gregory Brathwaite

Match referee – Richie Richardson