Home support will push the team to do better, says former international
Former international cricketer Lydia Greenway insists England’s lack of favourite tag at the upcoming ICC Women’s World Cup could prove advantageous as it chases success on home soil this summer.
Getting underway on June 24, the tournament will take place in Leicester, Derby, Bristol and Taunton before culminating in a showcase final at Lord’s on July 23.
A mainstay of England’s middle-order, Greenway retired from national duties last June, but during her 12-year international career amassed 126 ODI appearances and was an ICC Women’s World Cup winner in 2009.
While Australia, the reigning champion, is favourite to retain the title in July, England will field a side of mixed experience, with five players set to make their ICC Women’s World Cup debuts.
But with England the second-ranked women’s team, 31-year-old Greenway believes the home side has every chance of defeating all before it, insisting it has both the talent and the training to succeed once more.
“I’m so excited for the players. I’ve been lucky enough to play in a home World Cup before, as well as around the world, and I know that the girls have been training so hard for this,” she said.
“I’d be really keen to see them do well, and I’d be chuffed if they went on to win it. It will be very hard for them, there are some brilliant teams in the tournament, but they’ve done as much preparation as they can so fingers crossed.
“It’s hard not to put Australia as favourites, just because of how successful they have been in the past and in recent times, but I think actually, as a team, it’s nice not to be labelled as the favourites.
“England probably don’t go in as favourites, but for them, that might be quite good. Women’s cricket has come a long way around the world. Any team can beat anyone on their day.
“I’m not bittersweet at all that I’m not going to be playing. I feel very lucky that I’ve had quite a long career and I’ve been able to win World Cups at home.
“It’s a chance for some of these other girls to experience it. I know some have had that taste but some of the younger ones haven’t, so I’d be really chuffed to see them do it because I know how good it feels.”
No stranger to home advantage herself, Greenway was a member of the World Twenty20 squad who lifted the trophy at Lord’s in 2009, just months after their 50-over World Cup triumph in Sydney.
England has never lost a Women’s World Cup on home soil, having hosted, and won, in 1973 and 1993 before its third victory eight years ago, and Greenway is confident an English crowd can roar the team onto success yet again.
“We had the final at Lord’s and the atmosphere at the ground was brilliant. We didn’t have as many people watching as no doubt there will be at the final this year, but even so, that doesn’t matter too much,” she said.
“I think to win a World Cup at Lord’s is something every cricketer wants to do when they’re growing up, so I’m very lucky to have some brilliant memories from that.
“Playing in front of a home crowd is brilliant. I think the best thing about playing in England is that the people coming to watch only want you to do well.
“They’re not there to ridicule you or sledge you from the sidelines, they’re home support so they are always going to want you to do well.
“I think the England team will see that as a huge advantage for them, to have the crowd behind them, and as a player, you get a huge buzz from it as well.
“No doubt they’ll be very excited to hopefully put on a good show for the home support.”
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
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