Lane sets sights on World Cup
Mark Lane is optimistic his England women's side can get their bumper 12 months in international cricket off to a winning start by capturing the World Cup in Australia.
Lane and his charges are currently preparing to hit the ground running ahead of the first of a series of challenges this year, beginning Down Under with the World Cup.
Ahead of them also lie the World Twenty20 in England followed by a mouth-watering Ashes series - but it is the tournament in the southern hemisphere, which starts on Saturday when England meet Sri Lanka, which Lane has his attentions fully focused on.
“It's obviously been on our mind and plans and they have been going really well,” he told ecb.co.uk.
“Everyone keeps saying we are favourites but Australia are a very, very tough side along with the rest of the teams.
“They are in their own back yard and they are in the middle of their season. For us, we are going in our off-season so we need to be ready to go from the off.”
That Lane’s side head into the competition as favourites is hardly surprising given their well-documented, superlative form over the past 18 months, and Lane - along with his technical staff - has sought to keep his players fully match-fit given England's last competitive game was way back last year.
This has included stints in Australian grade cricket for the likes of Holly Colvin, Charlotte Edwards and Isa Guha, with the latter, in particular, impressive with a host of notable performances during her time in Sydney.
“Last winter played a key part for our plans, conditions and who we might be playing against,” Lane revealed.
“People like Gemma Broad, Stuart’s sister, has been picking up lots of video footage so we have been able to plan for who we are playing against.
“Also, Holly Colvin was playing here recently and we have had five of the World Cup squad playing club and state cricket. We thought it was a fantastic idea.
“All the girls want to get better as cricketers and those sorts of things are where we try and get all our players involved to improve them day in, day out.”
Lane and his assistant, Jack Birkenshaw, have already laid down in-depth plans for the challenges ahead.
“We have the full backing of the ECB, and Jack Birkenshaw has been a fantastic assistant coach who has never wavered in his enthusiasm,” Lane added.
“We have looked carefully at this year, and all our success up to this point has been geared to the events we will take part in this year.
“I wouldn’t say anything less than a victory in Australia would be a failure but what I would like us to make sure we do is play to our maximum standards in every game.
“If we are beaten by a better side then I've got no problems, but I want to make sure we play to our full potential, and if we do then there is no reason why we can't win it.
“We realise that even if we are seven wickets down we still have a good chance of winning as well as if we don't take tickets up front then our second and third change bowlers can still change the game for us.
“As myself and Jack have said, we can win from anywhere.”