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The grass is always greener

Posted in England Women

With the majority of the girls coming from England where they’ve been practising on indoor surfaces, our prime objective during these 10 days prior to the World Cup is to get the players prepared to play on grass wickets.

They have been in Loughborough all winter, playing on a very even surface, so it’s good to get them to bat on an outdoor surface where sometimes the bounce is a wee bit inconsistent and the ball turns a little bit.

It’s really just to get them feeling in time with the ball – the ball bounces a bit lower over here so it’s just to get them used to hitting the ball again and fielding and getting them used to being out in the hot sun.

So far they’re coping really well with the acclimatisation process. A couple of them struggled a little yesterday in our first practice session, but today they looked like they were heading towards being in good form and they’re looking forward to the game on Friday against New South Wales Breakers, who are coached by former England women’s coach Richard Bates.

The girls who have been playing out in Australia all look good. They’re obviously in better nick than some of the others given they’ve been playing more cricket.

Lydia (Greenway) looks good - she played really well today in training. Jenny Gunn’s bowling nicely and they’re all looking in good form. Holly Colvin, our slow left-arm bowler’s also looking good. We’re really happy with them. They all look really trim and fit and they’ve obviously looked after themselves during the winter.

England have got more than four international-type cricketers – we’ve got the captain, Charlotte, the two Taylors, Nunny (Katherine Brunt) and even more. Most of them can now contribute to winning a game internationally which is what we’re striving for.

Jenny Gunn

All-rounder Jenny Gunn has impressed Birkenshaw during England's net sessions

We’re not just relying on two or three batters to get the runs, so I think everybody can contribute. We bat really low down, with the likes of Isa Guha, coming in at 10 or 11, who should be able to get 20s or 30s at international level and Nunny also. They can all bat now which is great. We’re a team of all-rounders, I’ll put it that way!

We have definitely got a good chance in this tournament. Obviously Australia and the New Zealanders are good teams and you can’t really underestimate anybody in a one-day competition, but if all our girls play to their ability they’re going to compete with any team in the world.

Opposition-wise, obviously the Australians are strong. Their captain, Karen Rolton, and Lisa Sthalekar are two very good players. They’re a major side, they’re good, confident, competitive and they’ll be tough to beat, but we’ve beaten them once and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t again.