"Coming from Indian and South African tracks, we are adapting to English conditions – it will take a while, but the girls are getting used to it," says India captain
- Mithali Raj has led India over 100 times in her career in Women’s One Day Internationals.
- India finished seventh in the last ICC Women’s World Cup, but comes into the 2017 tournament in red-hot form after winning the Quadrangular Series last month in South Africa.
- Jhulan Goswami, the leading wicket-taker in women’s ODI cricket, will lead the attack for India in what will be her fourth ICC Women’s World Cup.
Four years ago Mithali Raj struck a century in a seventh-place play-off to salvage something for India in what was a disappointing ICC Women’s World Cup campaign.
This May she reached a ton of a different kind, leading the India ODI side out for a 100th time in her career – she is now third on the all-time list in women’s cricket.
And the experienced batter and captain has set her sights firmly on a much-improved ICC Women’s World Cup campaign in England after a record-breaking Quadrangular Series.
Raj struck her sixth successive half-century in the final of that series as India beat South Africa by eight wickets, the same opposition which ended India's run of 16 straight ODI victories just days previously.
The tournament also saw a record opening stand of 320 by Deepti Sharma and Punam Raut against Ireland, the first partnership of more than 300 runs in women’s cricket.
Confidence is sure to be high in the Indian camp as it prepares for the ICC Women’s World Cup in England but Raj is refusing to get too ahead of herself.
“The Quadrangular Series was very good preparation in terms of gaining confidence and sorting out the composition of the team, but we can’t really depend on past glory,” she said.
“The conditions there (South Africa) are completely different to what we are facing here in England. We can take a lot of confidence, but we need to start fresh again in the World Cup.
“The girls, coming from Indian and South African tracks, are adapting to English conditions – it will take a while, but the girls are getting used to it.”
With the batters seemingly in very good form for India, the team’s hopes of progressing to the semi-finals in England may come down to the strength of their bowling department.
Leading the attack, once again, will be the 34-year-old Jhulan Goswami – the leading wicket taker in women’s ODI cricket with 185 scalps in 155 matches.
And while the pitches in Derby, Taunton, Leicester and Bristol may be very different to those back home, Goswami has got plenty of experience to fall back on.
“The World Cup is a big stage, and that’s four years of preparation. We’re looking forward to it, it’s going to be my fourth World Cup, so I’m looking forward to some good games,” she said.
“For me, the Quadrangular Series was fantastic – we played very convincingly and as a team we performed really well. We’re looking to produce the same kind of performance over here.
“It will be my sixth or seventh time I’ve played in England; I love to play here, the culture of cricket is totally different.
“If you are able to bowl in the right areas, there should be a bit of movement off the wicket, and the weather might play a big role as well, if you are able to adapt.
“Our first target will be to reach the semi-finals, but for that you need to be able to play good cricket throughout the tournament and have good momentum.”