Opportunity to be grasped - Connor

ECB head of women’s cricket Clare Connor is insistent that England’s World Cup win was no fluke.

Three days after England’s nail-biting four-wicket win over New Zealand at the North Sydney Oval, Charlotte Edwards’ side were welcomed back to Lord’s with a homecoming ceremony.

The former England captain is now charged with maintaining England’s success - and helping the influence trickle down into encouraging more girls to take up the game.

“So much in the last 48 hours I’ve been asked, what was the secret? Was it a fluke? I can tell you, it really wasn’t,” Connor told ECBtv in the Lord’s nursery.

“The success has been in the planning. It’s been in the high-performance camps in Bangalore in November and the one-to-one training sessions.

“We’ve maintained a consistent selection policy over the last few years - backing players and working with them.

“Trying to support them through Chance to Shine, so they’re giving back to the sport, but also have financial stability. They can gain life experiences going into schools and clubs.”

England women

England's women line up with the World Cup at the homecoming ceremony at Lord's on Tuesday

Connor confirmed there were a number of high-level meetings coming up to discuss how to put down long-term foundations.

“We’re immensely proud, but there’s a huge challenge ahead. It’s how we can leverage support from the ECB and from potential sponsors and commercial partners in the future.

“On one hand, you just want to cherish those beautiful scenes.

“But we also have to seize this opportunity and hold important meetings and reviews.”

Connor also responded to suggestions that the victorious team would arrive back in London with some sore heads.

“They’re fantastically fun-loving people. But they wouldn’t dream of jeopardising a big press conference by arriving worse for wear. They’re consummate professionals and train really hard.

“They’re amateurs in how they don’t get paid to play for their country, but they’re complete professionals in the way they go about their work.”