“It’s a home World Cup and I think that is what everyone dreams of playing one day,” said Gunn
England all-rounder Jenny Gunn has called upon Leicestershire to spur the country’s cricketers onto success when the ICC Women’s World Cup comes to town next month.
Kicking off on June 24, seven games of the ICC Women’s World Cup will be staged at Leicester’s Grace Road, including England versus Pakistan three days into the tournament.
With England never having lost the ICC Women’s World Cup on home soil, all eyes will be on Gunn and co to keep that record in check, with a final appearance at Lord’s on July 23 on every player’s bucket list.
This year’s tournament will be Midlander Gunn’s fourth one-day World Cup, with the 31-year-old, who has 132 ODI caps to her name, being part of the triumphant squad who lifted the trophy in 2009.
And while it only reached the semi-finals in 2013, Gunn insists victory is England’s for the taking this time round, especially with a home crowd behind them.
“It’s a home World Cup and I think that is what everyone dreams of playing one day,” said Gunn, speaking on the Nissan Trophy Tour, which continues near the Sporting Capital statue on Wednesday.
“For me personally, it’s great because it is coming to the Midlands which is where I’m from. I’m from Nottingham so playing in Leicester and Derby is massive for me.
“We played at Grace Road last year and it’s all a lot of fun there. It’s a lot of entertainment so it will be really exciting to play there again. We just want to get on the field.
“I think now, with most teams going professional, it’s going to really show how women’s cricket has developed.
“With the likes of the Derby game already being sold out, it shows that people want to come and watch it and that is amazing for us to hear. Hopefully we can put on a good show for everybody.
“We’re all really excited to start. We’ve worked hard and really put the work in, and we’re hopeful home advantage can help and we’ll be in the final.
“I think home advantage is going to be massive. When we play just normal series, we have a lot of crowd and it’s always fun.
“When you are down, the crowd really gets you going again and so I really do think it will be important for us.”
Grace Road will welcome its first fixture of the tournament when Pakistan and South Africa get their World Cup campaigns underway on June 25, with Pakistan playing five of their round robin games at the ground.
And with this year’s competition expected to be the biggest and best ICC Women’s World Cup to date, Leicestershire County Cricket Club are hoping to capitalise on the opportunity and get more women and girls interested in picking up a bat for the very first time.
“The excitement for the ICC Women’s World Cup is incredible,” said Wasim Khan, chief executive.
“Overall, it’s going to be a great legacy for us to develop and sustain, and we can’t wait.
“The players will get great facilities here, it’s a great wicket for them to play on, and there will be a really good atmosphere.
“We’re really looking forward to it, we’re looking forward to welcoming the six different teams playing here, and it’s a really exciting time for us.
“Welcoming the women’s game is massive for us. We have the Leicestershire Vixens team here now and we’ve got other girls’ sides as well, so the World Cup is really something for us to use as a catalyst to get more girls participating in the game.
“We want to strengthen the sides we have got here, and hopefully we’ll have more women’s teams in the future.”
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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