Edwards eyes new high
Charlotte Edwards believes a successful World Cup defence in India would rank above anything she has achieved in her illustrious career.
The England captain is widely recognised as one of the finest players in the women’s game, having featured in more internationals than any other female cricketer.
She has already tasted World Cup success, leading England to the 50-over crown in Australia four years ago, and can also boast a World Twenty20 title and double Ashes glory on a glittering CV.
Yet victory in India next month would represent a new high as far as Edwards is concerned.
"For me, the ICC Women's World Cup is the pinnacle of our careers," she explained. "When I first started playing, the 50-over format was the only World Cup. This is what we are judged on.
"As international cricketers, this is the ultimate prize, no doubt about it. The biggest challenge for any cricketer is to play in India and succeed, so it will be the greatest achievement if we could do so."
England will enter the tournament as favourites, a situation Edwards is more than comfortable with.
"The current England team is used to high expectations being placed on them. Since 2009, this expectation is something we've had to deal with, something that has spurred us on and we relish it," she added.
"We have all been fortunate to play a lot in India recently, which certainly helps. It's a World Cup, it only comes around every four years, so this is a really exciting challenge for the team.
"Experience of big games, of World Cups, is something we've definitely got in our group. We've got a lot of strength in depth, which is very important.
"Knowing the conditions will be key, and a lot of our girls have experienced Indian conditions more than once. This experience stands you in good stead and helps with preparation."
Should any additional motivation be required, England can also draw upon their painful experience at the recent World Twenty20, which saw them perform superbly throughout the competition only to suffer defeat at the hands of old rivals Australia in the final.
"First and foremost, our performance at the ICC World Twenty20 was a fantastic achievement," said Edwards.
"It's bitterly disappointing that we didn't win, so it's been really nice for us to have the immediate focus on the ICC Women's World Cup, as well as a bit of a break.
"It's been a long summer, and we spent a long time preparing for the World Twenty20. It's good to be back in training, we're all really enjoying it.
"We'll also be going to India early to prepare for the World Cup. We're all very excited and the disappointment from the World Twenty20 has given us an extra edge in preparation to defend our title."
Edwards has complete faith in the 15-player party at her disposal and concluded: "Strength in depth will be vital; the best team will have strength and depth to win. We’ve got them and hopefully many of our players will flourish at the tournament."