England women's captain Charlotte Edwards, who is two games away from becoming the most-capped ODI player in women's cricket, has warned against complacency during her team's tour of Sri Lanka where it plays two ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals.
"We are favourites, but when you are playing Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, it is always hard playing a team at home. So we won't be complacent because we know what we are going to be up against," Edwards said upon arrival in Sri Lanka. "Sri Lanka have been an ever-improving side over the last couple of years, every time that we have played them. Other people will make us favourites; we are going into the game with confidence that we can win the series, but we won't be taking them lightly at all."
Edwards, who made her one-day debut against South Africa in 1997, has played 140 games for England and is just one game behind current record-holder, Karen Rolton from Australia. "My first game as captain was in Sri Lanka (in 2005)," Edwards said, "and hopefully in the upcoming two-match ODI series, I will gain the world record for the most number of caps, but that's more on a personal note."
Edwards said the tour would serve as significant preparation for bigger assignments ahead. "The objective of this tour is to get some cricket in our off season in preparation for the Ashes series against Australia in January. This tour is vital in preparation for that trip and also in for the 2012 Twenty20 World Cup which is going to be held in Sri Lanka.
"Any experience we can get of the wickets in the subcontinent, especially for the 2013 50-over World Cup which is to be played in India, is going to be vital for us. This is the reason we've given four of our academy girls the opportunity to tour in the next few weeks." The four new faces in England Women's team are Fran Wilson, Susie Rowe, Beth MacGregor and Lauren Griffiths.
Edwards said her team was looking to build on their 50-over World Cup success in 2009 in the next couple of years with the introduction of new talent in their line-up.
"We are very lucky at the moment. We have got some very good senior players within our team and some younger players who have got some experience.
"We have got a provincial county system in England which is the same as the men's and a thriving youth academy which I think is the most important thing. We are probably reaping the benefits of that system, especially from our success in 2009, which has probably made a lot of girls want to take up cricket," she said.
Sri Lanka, who are led by allrounder Shashikala Siriwardene, have brought in uncapped left-arm spinner Sherina Ravikumar to replace Hiruka Fernando. Fernando will be retiring next month after serving Sri Lanka in 60 ODIs with her left-arm spin.
"Hiruka had indicated in her letter of retirement that she wouldn't mind a youngster being given her place in the team for the series against England. We left it to the selection committee who decided to replace her with Sherina who will pair off with experienced offspinner Rose Fernando who has been recalled to the team," Siriwardene said.
The first ODI will be played on November 14 at the P Sara stadium in Colombo.