Coach Lane wants England to be 'on top of their game'
Mark Lane, the England women's coach, is aware that his team will need to be on top of their game during the World Cup in Australia, starting on March 7, even though they are one of the tournament favourites following a splendid run in 2008. Lane will fly to Sydney with six of the players on Thursday night to join the other nine who are already in Australia.
"We have spent a lot of time talking about executing our skills at the right time," Lane told the ECB website. "In tournament cricket, five overs might change the course of the game - for good or bad - and it is about making sure we are on the top of our game and that we are ready at any given time to perform."
Lane has been extremely successful during his stint as coach. He started in caretaker capacity on the tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2007-08. England drew the ODI series 2-2 in Australia and won the one-off Test to retain the Ashes. Following his appointment as coach in April 2008, the team had an unbeaten 16-ODI run during the home series against West Indies, South and India, with 12 wins and four abandoned games.
Lane, however, warned that things could be different in a big tournament. "In series cricket you can go 1-0 down and win 4-1, but in tournament cricket you can't do that. I am very excited and I am looking forward to this event," he said. "I would say that our preparations have been excellent. We spent some time out in Bangalore and we already have nine players out in Australia.
"The one big disadvantage for this event is that we are in our off-season and it is on the other side of the world. We have set up a mini camp with the girls who are already out there and [captain] Charlotte [Edwards] is leading the way. We are looking forward to meeting up together and having some training time before we get stuck into the main event."
England begin their campaign against Sri Lanka on March 7, before facing India, the 2005 finalists, three days later. England had trounced India 4-0 at home last year. "India can be a very dangerous side and they do have some very good individuals, such as Jhulan Goswami, Mithali Raj and Anjum Chopra, who has come back into the squad," he said. "Last summer we didn't let them perform but playing them in a tournament, it could be very different. Goswami could take three early wickets and change the course of the game, but we are aware of how we are going to play her."
The focus will be on Edwards, who was awarded the ICC Women's Player of the Year last year, Claire Taylor and Isa Guha, who lead the ICC rankings for batsmen and bowlers respectively.
"We have some very exciting cricketers and lots of match-winners, the likes of Sarah Taylor and Katherine Brunt, down to Anya Shrubshole, who has just turned 17," Lane said. "The whole squad will play their part throughout the tournament."
England have been drawn in the same group as India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, with the top three progressing to the Super Six stage.