February 16, 2013

ICC Women's World Cup 2013

Fitzpatrick still has the fire

Alison Mitchell

Australia’s coach, Cathryn Fitzpatrick, is a two-time winner of the World Cup but once Sunday’s final gets underway at the Brabourne Stadium, there will be nothing more she can do to affect the outcome of the match.

As a fast bowler, Fitzpatrick was the quickest in the game, intimidating the opposition with a steely competitiveness that brought her 180 wickets in 109 ODIs at an average of 16.79. Now, at 44 years of age, she still has a bit of the fast bowler in her according to Australia allrounder Lisa Sthalekar, but she has adapted well to being in charge.

“As a player she was the type of person who had high expectations of herself and her team-mates, and that hasn’t changed as a coach,” Sthalekar told me. “She always wants to get the best out of us. We didn’t play quite as well as we would have liked in the first two matches of this tournament, but she identified the areas that we needed to work on and did it in a manner that didn’t put us on the back foot in any way.

“Her coming into the role after being assistant has been really good. She’s got a good understanding of the group and what we need and she’s getting the best out of us at the moment.

“I’m sure she still gets that fiery attitude towards the game and gets annoyed when things aren’t being done as we discussed in team meetings. At the end of the day she’s coach now. She can’t do anything about it. She’s just got to sit back and watch us.”

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England were squeezing in extra training sessions back at their hotel during this World Cup. It has all been corridor cricket though, with the four-year-old son of England allrounder Arran Brindle. Little Harry and Brindle's husband James are allowed to travel with the team at certain times and the ECB has been very supportive of making sure Brindle can combine motherhood with international cricket. Unlike the partners of the men's team though, the Brindles have to pay their own way to come on tour. Unfortunately, Harry hasn't been able to watch his mum play as much as he would like, as children are not allowed in the clubhouse (apparently not even the club president's children). The family have had to sit out in the concrete stands, where there is obviously no air conditioning, limited toilet facilities and - during this tournament at least - no food or drink for spectators to buy. It has simply been too hot for a four-year-old and so he has been taken back to the hotel after a couple of hours.

Mumbai's dhobi ghat, February 16, 2013
The dhobi ghat in Mumbai  © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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Brindle (at the time Thompson) stepped away from the international game in 2005 after helping England reach the semi-finals of the World Cup and having hit her maiden Test century against Australia in the same year. Her decision shocked many, as she was at the top of her game at the time, but she wanted to do others things and needed to get a better balance in her life. She got married to James, had Harry, and continued to play cricket for her club side Louth in the ECB men's Premier League. She became the first woman to captain in the league when she led the first XI - a team that included her husband. The decision to try to resume playing internationally came when she was forced to miss most of the 2011 season through injury. She realised how much she missed it and, having been named in the England squad for the 2011 quadrangular series, promptly hit 128 for Louth, becoming the first woman to score a hundred in the top league of men's club cricket.

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Airing dirty linen in public is something Mumbaikers are definitely not afraid to do. The city’s famous dhobi ghat is known as the world’s largest outdoor laundry, and every day several tonnes of Mumbai’s washing is done by hand in over 700 open-air stone troughs. A Bollywood film named Dhobi Ghat was released in 2011, making the rows and rows of washing lines an even more popular tourist attraction. It lies north of Colaba, where the Cricket Club of India is situated, next to Mahalaxmi station.

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