Rainford-Brent in new territory
Watch Ebony Rainford-Brent's exclusive interview with ECBtv where she talks about her World Cup aim
Ebony Rainford-Brent says England women will have to be wary of unknown quantities Pakistan and Sri Lanka when they embark on their quest to win the World Cup this year.
England, World Cup winners in 1973 and 1993, open their Group B campaign against Sri Lanka at the Manuka Oval, Canberra, on March 7, before facing the dangerous India and then Pakistan.
Mark Lane’s side know all about India, having beaten them 4-0 in last summer’s NatWest Women’s Series.
“Personally, we haven’t seen Pakistan or Sri Lanka for a while, so they’ll be something of an unknown quantity,” Rainford-Brent told ECBtv. “We will have to be wary.
“We played India here this year and beat them 4-0. But they are a good side and will be in their season. They are a strong unit.”
England have not met Sri Lanka since a two-match series in Colombo in 2005. Captain Charlotte Edwards, England's most experienced player, has never played an international game against Pakistan.
“We have to treat the World Cup as any game of cricket," adds Rainford-Brent. "But that’s difficult because it’s so exciting.
"The last 12 months has been a bit of a rollercoaster for me personally. I was out of the team, and then got back in. I think if I played in the World Cup it would be amazing, especially if we do well.
“The fact it’s going to be shown all around the world on television means I hope everyone gets behind it.”
All-rounder Rainford-Brent, 25, took herself off to Australia last winter in order to enhance her game, so she knows all about conditions Down Under.
She admits the host nation, five-time winners of the competition, will have to be considered the frontrunners, despite England being in possession of the Ashes.
“I don’t know if there’s pressure," she said. "We’re in their back yard so I think they would have to be favourites.
“We’ve been training hard. We’ve got girls out there in Australia as well.
“14 games unbeaten is good by any standard. Mark Lane has introduced a no-excuse environment. He wants us to cover all the bases.
“We understand our cricket now; we just have to replicate that.
“We went out to Bangalore for 13 days in the close-season, which was helpful for two reasons.
“Firstly, to work on individual things, but also because it wasn’t such a pressurised environment. We had time to work on things and knuckle down.”