November 24, 2000

Indian hopes high for World Cup success

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India arrived in Christchurch today to complete the assembly of the world's leading women's cricket sides in preparation for the CricInfo Women's World Cup starting next Wednesday at Lincoln University.

It was just a stopover for the Indians however, as they were straight onto a plane for Wellington where they will play two warm-up games against Wellington before returning to Christchurch in preparation for the Cup opening on Tuesday evening.

Captain Anju Jain is leading a side that includes several members of the team which was in New Zealand for the 1994/95 Centenary Series where India won its first overseas tournament.

"We've been working very hard," Jain said.

"We've had three or four camps and are definitely in good shape. We are very confident. Our spin attack is the best in the world and we have some good batsmen.

"Our fielding, and fitness, has improved a lot. We have been working very hard on them," she said.

Indian women cricketers had learned a lot from the staging of the last Women's World Cup in their country and they had been working hard to show the lessons in their bid to win this year's Cup.

"The Australians will be tough and the New Zealanders are playing at home," she said.

One concern for India might be its lack of recent international competition. The side has not had an international match since July-August last year when beating England in a one-day series and drawing a Test match.

In a bid to handle the acknowledged threat of the Australian pace attack which has the potential to be a barrier to India's Cup hopes, Jain said, the side had been playing a lot of games against boys' teams in India.

"We're definitely aiming for the World Cup. People in India are expecting a lot from the team.

"Those expectations from the people give us the confidence," she said.

India's opening tournament game is on November 30 against South Africa at Hagley Oval.