Kolkata: English cricket fans couldn’t have asked for anything better as right after the Champions Trophy, the Women’s World Cup is all set to begin in England with the hosts fired up to get their hands on the silverware for a third time after winning the competition in the years 1973 and 1993.
Ahead of their clash against India at the Derby on Saturday, English captain Heather Knight sounded confident of her side that has won both their warm-up games and looks to be brilliant form.
“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” she further added.
She also praised the combination of her squad and said, “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.”
But she also praised the Indian side which has a mix of youth and experience citing the examples of veterans Jhulam Goswami and Mithali Raj, who have served Indian cricket for a long time.
“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” she said.
The Indians however has had mixed preparations so far as they won their warm up game against Sri Lanka but lost the one against New Zealand.
But Indian captain Mithali Raj is satisfied with the way things are progressing with the practice and that her team has adapted to the English conditions pretty well. She also believes that her team can put up a good show in the tournament.
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.”
Praising the overseas success of her team, she said, “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.”
She however didn’t count out the pressure that comes along when playing against the host side but she also believed that the English team would also be under pressure as they would have to perform in front of their home crowd.
She too, like Knight respected the opposition’s strengths and emphasised on the need to adapt to the playing conditions. “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” said Raj.
She added, “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.”