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June 21, 2008
Nadine George, the West Indies women's captain, hopes her side's tour of Ireland, Netherlands and England will not be affected by the team's three-year absence from the international circuit.
"It has been very disappointing to not have any international matches and to get experience of playing against the top sides," she said. "There is a gap to catch up and hopefully this tour will enhance our ability and give us a greater edge and hopefully help us move closer to the top four."
George is leading a very inexperienced side on the tour to Europe, with 11 out of 16 players yet to make their international debuts. "There is a lot of responsibility on the older players to fine-tune their game. In the past few days we have had a training camp and got some assessment on how we did on the training programmes and all the feedback has been extremely positive so far."
West Indies begin the tournament with three ODIs and a Twenty20 against Ireland starting June 24 and George said it would be a challenge playing in Europe since the conditions in the Caribbean were so different. "The weather factors mean that the ball swings a lot more, but we have played some local matches against boys that have really helped us, as some of them have helped expose us to swing bowling."
West Indies last played Ireland in the World Cup 2005 where they beat them by eight wickets. But George did not think that win would matter on this tour. "Before that they had beaten us in the World Cup Qualifiers in 2003. I'm not too familiar with their players, apart from Clare Shillington."
After their tour of Ireland, West Indies head to Netherlands in July for four ODIs and two Twenty20s and then over to England for two ODIs.
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