Lane looking to the future
England women already have one eye on the 2013 World Cup as they prepare to set off on their tour of South Africa this weekend.
Charlotte Edwards’ side, who were crowned world champions in Australia just over two and a half years ago, will be based in Potchefstroom from October 17-31 and will take on their hosts in three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 fixtures.
Ahead of the team’s departure, head coach Mark Lane told ecb.co.uk: “Obviously we would like to go out there and win, but I think, more than that, it’s an opportunity for us to develop players and also to start working on our 50-over World Cup strategy.
“We had our fitness testing and our screening last weekend and we made it clear this is the point where we start to think, plan, and get everything geared towards the 2013 World Cup in India.
“We want to win every game we play, but how we play, the style we play and the contributions from different players is something which is key.”
Although England will be favourites to win both limited-overs series, Lane is anticipating a stiff challenge.
“Women’s cricket across the world is really getting better and better, and South Africa will be well prepared,” he explained.
“I know a couple of their coaches out there and I know they have been working hard. They have got some very exciting young cricketers.”
England will have to manage without Claire Taylor after she announced her retirement from international cricket in July.
However, Lane is confident the rest of the squad can cope in the absence of the talismanic batter, who was a stalwart of the team for more than a decade.
"Obviously we’ll miss Claire - her professionalism, her stubbornness and her sheer weight of runs,” he added. “But it will allow some players like Lydia Greenway, Sarah Taylor and Arran Brindle to take on more responsibility and hopefully we’ll find the youngsters start to blossom and start putting pressure on the top-order batters.”
Lane admits the future appears bright for his charges following the recent appointment of five lead specialist coaches to work across women’s and girls’ cricket.
England’s players are also set to receive tour fees and incentivised appearance fees for the first time - a reward for their continued success in recent years.
“I feel really honoured by how far we have come as a group,” said Lane. “It’s a massive step forward for the women’s game to have five fantastic lead coaches.
“It’s got to be exciting for the players, there’s a wealth of experience, a wealth of coaching knowledge that we have got now on tap and we want to make sure we are the best in the world for many years to come. It’s really exciting where we are going.
“The support the ECB have given to myself and Charlotte (Edwards), and (head of women's cricket) Clare Connor has played a massive part in this for us - the girls deserve it. They have worked very hard, we have been very successful.
"I remember working very early with Clare Connor, Charlotte Edwards, people like that, when they paid for most of the things themselves, they even contributed towards going on tours many years ago.
“To see how far it has come, not just in all the funding and the lead coaches, but the actual standard of cricket, it’s only what they deserve in my opinion.”