Knight's England aiming to make history

England Women's captain Heather Knight previews her side's ODI series in India

England captain Heather Knight has set her side’s aims on making history by becoming the first England Women’s side to win a bilateral ODI series in India.

Knight and her team will go up against Mithali Raj’s India in three ODIs, starting this Friday, at the beginning of a sub-continent tour that also sees three IT20s against India and a series in Sri Lanka.

It kicks off a year in which England will also host the West Indies and Australia in the Women’s Ashes, before attentions turn to the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, to be held in Australia in February of next year.

“We're really excited," said Knight. "It’s a massive year for us, obviously starting with this tour. India is such a fantastic place to come to - it’s a place where they really worship cricket and it’s a real challenge as a foreign cricketer to come here and try to win."

“We’ve never won an ODI series over here so it’s a massive opportunity for us to try and make some history.”

Knight and her England teammates were in the same country less than a year ago – and the Western Storm all-rounder is hopeful that the lessons of that tour can be beneficial this time round.

“We took quite a young side out here a year ago, to try and give some more of our players an opportunity. It wasn’t for ICC Women’s Championship points whereas it is this year.

“We played all of the ODIs in Nagpur and it was hard work. The pitches were very dry and what you would expect of pitches in the sub-continent. We learned a lot as a playing group, batters and bowlers, about how to play in those conditions and while we had some success we weren’t able to win the series.

“This tour is slightly different. We’re playing our three ODIs at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai and the conditions towards the end of the series could well be similar to those we experienced in Nagpur.

“The early starts [games start at 9am IST] will also add another dimension, with the possibility of the dew factor coming into play early on in the game.”

England Women during their warm-up game at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, India

England were indebted to Knight for getting across the line in their final warm-up game but it was also a game that that saw a number of other players impress, especially with the ball. Knight believes it’s a huge positive that there are a number of players vying for selection.

“We’ve got a big squad now from which to pick. We’ve got lots of players pushing each other on to keep performing and keep improving. That’s brilliant from the team’s perspective and from my perspective, to have that competition for places.

“It’s a long tour, we’ve obviously got the Sri Lanka series immediately after, so I think it will be a squad effort over the next six weeks. It’s a real opportunity to push forward in ODI cricket and continue what’s been a really good couple of years for us.”

The squad has been bolstered by the return of Katherine Brunt and Sarah Taylor, and for Knight that will be hugely beneficial on and off the field.

“It’s brilliant to have them back. They’ve got a hell of a lot of experience. This is Brunty’s sixth or seventh trip to India so she’s got a lot of expertise to pass on, and it’s the same for Sarah.

“They both bring so much to the group, on and off the field. Brunty with her experience and Sarah’s a really fun and bubbly presence. They’re great for the group and hopefully that will help us as we try to win the series.”