Taking on the best in the world
Posted in England Women
I'm looking at next week's NatWest Women's Quadrangular Series as a mini World Cup. Australia, New Zealand, India and England are the four best sides in the world.
West Indies are not too far away from that group though, which is good for the women's game. The standard is improving all the time and we need to make sure we do the same.
The format for the two weeks is a Twenty20 and 50-over series. I want to win both.
We spent last week at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough putting the final touches on our preparations for the series. It was a fantastic week with Twenty20 games against the England Women's Academy and Bedford School. We won both.
We played some fantastic cricket against the Academy. I want the players to be brave and show a positive intent when they bat and they did just that. Danni Wyatt, Laura Marsh and Lottie (Charlotte Edwards) were exceptional as we made 199 for two.
I was impressed with how we bowled too, particularly up front with Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole. Having those two with the new ball gives us another option if we are playing on a green wicket. Pace can be easy to get away so their margins are pretty fine but if they get it right it can be devastating. We did not allow the Academy to get any momentum.
We won comfortably but I thought the Academy did well. Unfortunately for them we played to a very high standard. Playing the Academy gives us the opportunity to see where they are at. It can also highlight areas that need some work.
The Academy have international games this year so that's an excellent chance for players to put their case forward. We always take notice of county cricket too.
We then beat Bedford School. Playing against the boys also gives us the element of the unknown, so we needed to be flexible and adapt. What pleased me was that other players stepped up, like Arran Brindle and Holly Colvin with the bat and Danni with the ball.
I'm encouraging the girls to have a freedom when they bat. I want them to express themselves and to not have a fear of failure. They have to be smart though.
We are trying to take our game forward. We realised after our first round exit at the World Twenty20 last year that we needed to change our approach. We started to put that into practice in Sri Lanka and then carried that into the Twenty20 series in Australia, which we won 4-1.
We also spent time working on our plans on the opposition. It's about us though. If we execute our plans more regularly than the opposition, then we will come out on top.
The girls have a quiet week now with a game for their counties this weekend. We then meet up on Monday afternoon for two days of preparation before our first game against New Zealand at Chelmsford.