Hyderabad: It is a tough opener but England will be under pressure,’’ said Indian coach Purnima Rau as the draws for cricket World Cup were released in Dubai on Wednesday.
The Indian women’s cricket team will begin their World Cup campaign by taking on hosts England in the opener on June 24 in Derby while powerhouse New Zealand will take on qualifier Sri Lanka in Bristol on the same day.
India will feature in four games in Derby, including the much-anticipated clash against arch-rivals Pakistan on July 2. The other games at the venue include the tie against Sri Lanka on July 5 and against New Zealand on July 15, said an International Cricket Council press release here.
Rau said the Indian team is a much improved side. “We have developed into a fighting unit. We are confident of a good show in this World Cup,’’ she said.
She said the team is riding high after their grand show in the World Cup qualifier in Sri Lanka. “The victory in Sri Lanka has given us a new confidence but we are not complacent. We are looking for a good run in England. The team has begun to jell well and we have seen some impressive performances by the g*irls.’’
That the team won laurels despite not having Jhulan Goswami and Smriti Mandana, both important players, augurs well for the team. Medium pacer Jhulan and Mithali Raju will continue to be the key players in England, according to Rau. “They have the experience. Jhulan will lead the Indian attack and has the experience to bowl in English conditions while Mithali has always been a solid batsman for the Indian team.’’
Rau said the Indian team has other big match batters like Smriti, Deepti Sharma, Devka, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy. “They have taken off the load from Mithali, who is now able to play more freely.’’
The coach pointed out they would be focusing on fielding, particularly the slip catches, where it is important in English conditions. “This is the area we have to improve. On the whole, the team is all geared up for the World Cup.’’