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Salma, Delany and Athapaththu optimistic ahead of ICC Women's World T20 2018

The upcoming ICC Women’s World T20 2018 is expected to be a fiercely competitive tournament and is probably the most high-profile one in six editions since it comes on the back of a highly successful ICC Women’s World Cup 2017.

• The captains of Bangladesh, Ireland and Sri Lanka exude confidence in the T20 format, which is recognised as the vehicle for the promotion and development of the game; the promising fare makes the Caribbean event an event to look forward to

But while the focus is likely to be on top teams like defending champions Windies, three-time champions Australia and ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 champions England, the 16-day tournament gives an opportunity to other teams to make a mark on the world stage in a format seen as the vehicle for the development of the game.

Bangladesh captain Salma Khatun is buoyant after having won the Asia Cup title this year beating India twice in the T20 tournament and is looking forward to the challenge of starting out in a group that includes defending champions the Windies, England, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

On the other hand, Ireland are taking inspiration from their women’s hockey players, who finished with their first ever medal in a World Cup when they reached the final in London in July-August. Captain Laura Delany wants to show the world that Irish cricket is on the rise and her enthusiasm is not doused by the fact that they are in a tough group that includes Australia, New Zealand, India and Pakistan.

Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu, famous for her innings of 178 not out against Australia in last year’s ICC Women’s World Cup, feels the T20 format gives a chance to all sides to make an impact and promises that her team is a much-improved side.

Bangladesh captain Salma Khatun: “Women’s cricket has come a long way during the last few years, especially after the last World Cup. People are showing more interest and viewership has also increased in big numbers. The quality of the game and fiercely-contested matches have contributed in the popularity of the women’s game and I’m confident this is a trend that will continue in the coming years.

'If we play to our potential, this is a good chance for us' – Khatun
'If we play to our potential, this is a good chance for us' – Khatun

“The ICC Women’s World T20 will again get attention from every corner and it is an opportunity for all of us to ensure that we entertain viewers. Having done well in this year’s Asia Cup, where we were able to beat ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 finalists India, we are confident of doing well in the upcoming tournament.

“If we play to our potential, this is a good chance for us. We have a fine spin attack and see an opportunity on the pitches of the West Indies, which may provide some help to the slow bowlers too.

“We will earn respect from our opposition after some fine recent performances and having proved that we are not mere pushovers. All the teams are strong enough to have an impact in the competition but we are up for the challenge. Considering the performances in the recent past, it is hard to name one or two teams as potential winners but what I’m sure of is a highly competitive event.”

Ireland captain Laura Delany: “From the moment we qualified for the ICC Women’s World T20 tournament, our minds have turned to the challenge ahead. With Australia, India, Pakistan and New Zealand in our group, we may be considered outsiders to progress, however, we will head to the Caribbean with the confidence that we came through a tough season and finished on a high.

Come the 11th of November, when we step out on the field in Guyana against the Southern Stars, we’ll be ready – Delany
Come the 11th of November, when we step out on the field in Guyana against the Southern Stars, we’ll be ready – Delany

“We proudly watched on as our colleagues in Irish hockey surpassed all expectations at their recent World Cup (reaching the final of the tournament played in London), and have taken inspiration from their fearlessness when confronted with higher-ranked opponents.
“Two of our longest term squad members, Clare Shillington and Ciara Metcalfe, have both announced that this will be their last tournament for Ireland, and we plan to send these two legends of Irish women’s cricket off with some performances that we can all be proud of.
“Come the 11th of November, when we step out on the field in Guyana against the Southern Stars, we’ll be ready – and if we can play to our full potential, then we can show the world that Irish cricket is on the rise.”

Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu: “We played in the West Indies a year ago. Then we received slow pitches. However, as this is an ICC tournament, I believe we will get good (batting) wickets.

"The team is practising hard and we are very clear about our goals," says Athapaththu

“In the T20 format; there is a chance for all the teams and any team can make an impact, given that they play well and seize every opportunity in the field.

“Sri Lanka is confident of going forward in this tournament. We did well in the just-concluded series against India. Our preparation is at its best. The team is practising hard and we are very clear about our goals.

“The team has improved in many areas. We have ironed out fielding errors and will be testing the success of it during the practice games we play in the coming days.”

The following is the schedule of upcoming articles:

30 Oct – Column by former India captain Anjum Chopra
31 Oct – Column by former New Zealand captain Aimee Watkins

The following articles have been released and are available on the ICC website and OMZ:

28 Oct – Rising run-rates evoke further interest in ICC Women’s World T20 2018
27 Oct – First-person article by Windies captain Stafanie Taylor
26 Oct – First-person article by South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk
25 Oct – First-person article by India captain Harmanpreet Kaur
25 Oct – Umpire and match referee appointments
24 Oct – First-person article by New Zealand captain Amy Satterthwaite
23 Oct – First-person article by England captain Heather Knight
22 Oct – First-person article by Australia captain Meg Lanning
21 Oct – Calypso support and history add to flavour of ICC Women’s World T20
20 Oct – ICC Women’s World T20 2018 highlights the changing face of women’s cricket
19 Oct - A look back at previous tournaments
10 Oct - Squads confirmed for ICC Women’s World T20 2018

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