India confident of a good show
While the hosts have not played any international cricket since their World Cup appearance, the visitors are on song after their home victories against Australia in the summer, and four wins on the trot in the shorter version of the game - two ODIs in Sri Lanka earlier this month and two practice matches in India. However, the Indian team, led by Mithali Raj, are not worried by the form of their opponents and have prepared hard for the rubber. They underwent rigorous training at the recent 15-day preparatory camp in Gurgaon following a conditioning camp in Mysore in September.
"We are not overawed by their ODI wins as a four-day match is a different ball game and we also beat them in the World Cup," Raj said, referring to India's victory over England en route to the semi-finals in South Africa. "As far as the warm-up matches are concerned, they were pitted against our Under-21 girls. A little nervousness is of course there, but that is important otherwise we will get complacent."
The confidence of the team notwithstanding, the Indians have not been tested in the international arena for the last six months, besides having missed out on two of their important domestic tournaments. One of the tournaments, scheduled to be played in Surat, was cancelled due to unforseen reasons, while the other, in Bhilai, was washed out by rain.
The team will also miss the presence of Jaya Sharma, who suffered an injury during a warm-up match at the Teri Oval, and Hemlata Kala, who has retired.
India added two new faces in the squad in Asha Rawat and Shravanti Naidu of Hyderabad. Varsha Raffel, the offspinner, and Monika Sumra, the opening batsman, who last played in the home series against Australia in 2004-05, are making a comeback.
After the practice at the Jamia Milia grounds, the venue for the match, England's captain Charlotte Edwards said it could be a high scoring match and they would have to play at their best against the strong opponents. She has recovered from a bout of food poisoning and has been passed fit to play.
India (from) Mithali Raj (capt), Neetu David, Nooshin Al Khadir, Amita Sharma, Rumeli Dhar, Jaya Sharma, Monica Sumra, Varsha Raffel, Asha Rawat, and Reema Malhotra, Anjum Chopra, Jhulan Goswami, Karuna Jain, Shravanti Naidu.
England (probable) 1 Charlotte Edwards (capt), 2 Laura Newton, 3 Claire Taylor, 4 Arran Brindle, 5 Katherine Brunt, 6 Rosalie Birch, 7 Isa Guha, 8 Jenny Gunn, 9 Laura Harper, 10 Jane Smit (wk), 11 Jo Watts.