“I think this tournament can do so much for women’s cricket and hopefully the cricket will be just as good as everyone is expecting."
Legendary England captain Charlotte Edwards insists the upcoming ICC Women’s World Cup can be the catalyst for a new generation of cricketing stars as the Nissan Trophy Tour kicked off in Taunton on Tuesday.
Having made its way around the world over recent months, the Nissan Trophy Tour will also venture to the host cities of Derby, Leicester and Bristol throughout May, as well as those venues welcoming the men’s ICC Champions Trophy in June.
To get the Tour underway, tournament ambassador Edwards - who amassed 220 caps during a 20-year international career - was at Somerset CCC’s County Ground on Tuesday with both trophies, where 60 pupils from Holy Trinity Primary School enjoyed a cricketing masterclass from the very best.
From there, the visit continued onto Selworthy School where Edwards, who captained England for a decade and lifted the Women's World Cup in 2009, joined in a game of playground cricket, before delivering an assembly at Lyngford Park Primary School.
And having witnessed first-hand the growing buzz for the action to begin, Edwards is only too confident it will be a summer to remember.
“I think it’s such an important summer for cricket and for women’s cricket in this country and globally,” said Edwards, who retired from the international game in 2016.
“I think this tournament can do so much for women’s cricket and hopefully the cricket will be just as good as everyone is expecting.
“You can’t underestimate how much having this tournament can do for cricket in this country. I was inspired by the 1993 World Cup win when England won, and was part of the 2009 win here, so I realised what an impact it can have.
"The Nissan Trophy Tour is a big event. We’re going to be visiting all the major cities of both the ICC Champions Trophy and the Women’s World Cup, so it’s going to be a great tour.
“There are going to be lots of school visits and promotional activities within those cities, and hopefully that will show what an amazing amount of cricket we’ve got coming up in this country, which is great not only for the cricketing public, but for hopefully attracting a new audience to the game.
“Kids are the most important people to attract. You can see the excitement in their faces just seeing the trophies, and we just want to get a lot of these young boys and girls down to games with their families and hopefully have an enjoyable few months.”
The ICC Women’s World Cup kicks off on June 24 when England take on India at Derby’s County Ground, before the tournament draws to a close with a showcase final at Lord’s on July 23.
Home soil has certainly proved advantageous for England’s women, having being victorious on the two previous occasions the tournament has been played on English shores, coming in 1973 and 1993.
And for Guy Lavender, Somerset CCC’s chief executive, there is nowhere more pertinent for the Nissan Trophy Tour to set off on its journey around the country as excitement begins to reach fever pitch in the West Country.
“It’s amazing that the ICC Women’s World Cup is coming to Taunton. We’ve got seven group games and we’re delighted to be a part of it,” he said.
“Somerset has got a rich history of being involved in the development of the women’s game, and we were instrumental in the early days.
“We view ourselves as the spiritual home of women’s cricket and to have a global tournament coming to Somerset is absolutely superb.
“We get really good crowds in with great cricket fans and followers, and it’s going to be a superb tournament, one in which we are looking forward to playing our part and making it the most successful tournament ever.”
The ICC Women’s World Cup 24 June – 23 July will see the best women’s ODI teams in the world compete for ultimate glory this summer. Tickets available at icc-cricket.com/tickets