England captain Heather Knight does not feel the pressure of heading into the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 as defending champions.
The 2017 winners will take on Australia in their opening match on March 5 in Hamilton and Knight believes it is Australia who head in as the team to beat.
“I think five years is quite a long time in international cricket and obviously Australia have been the outstanding team throughout that period and naturally, deservedly they go in as favourites,” she said.
“I don’t think it [being defending champions] hangs heavy at all on our shoulders. I think the tournament we had in 2017 will give a lot of the players confidence that they can deal with the ebbs and flows of the tournament and know how to be successful in World Cups.
“We’ll be trying to take experience from that and we’re not too worried about having the tag of obviously being reigning champions.”
England will still be hoping to keep a hold of the trophy come the final in Christchurch on 3 April and have been working to be at their best for this tournament.
Knight added: “Naturally the team evolves in World Cup cycles. I think the last couple of years with Lisa [Keightley, head coach] coming in, the changes we’ve made as a bowling unit. We’ve really tried to be a little bit more aggressive, a little bit more attacking, look to take wickets particularly up front and through that middle phase.
“You’re just trying to get your players together that are going to be successful during those five years preparing for a World Cup...In the last couple of years before a World Cup, you are trying to really build to peak at that time.”
Since Jul 24, 2017 (8 participating teams)
|Team||Mat||Won||Lost||Tied||NR||W/L||Scoring rate||Highest score||Lowest score|
England's ODI results since Jan 1 2021
|ENG||won||8 wickets||98||lost||2nd||v NZ||Christchurch||23 Feb 2021|
|ENG||won||7 wickets||74||lost||2nd||v NZ||Dunedin||26 Feb 2021|
|ENG||lost||7 wickets||20||won||1st||v NZ||Dunedin||28 Feb 2021|
|ENG||won||8 wickets||91||won||2nd||v India||Bristol||27 Jun 2021|
|ENG||won||5 wickets||15||won||2nd||v India||Taunton||30 Jun 2021|
|ENG||lost||4 wickets||3||lost||1st||v India||Worcester||3 Jul 2021|
|ENG||won||30 runs||lost||1st||v NZ||Bristol||16 Sep 2021|
|ENG||won||13 runs||lost||1st||v NZ||Worcester||19 Sep 2021|
|ENG||lost||3 wickets||25||lost||1st||v NZ||Leicester||21 Sep 2021|
|ENG||won||3 wickets||3||won||2nd||v NZ||Derby||23 Sep 2021|
|ENG||won||203 runs||lost||1st||v NZ||Canterbury||26 Sep 2021|
|ENG||lost||27 runs||won||2nd||v AUS||Canberra||3 Feb 2022|
|ENG||lost||5 wickets||88||lost||1st||v AUS||Melbourne||6 Feb 2022|
|ENG||lost||8 wickets||82||won||1st||v AUS||Melbourne||8 Feb 2022|
“We have I think there’s obviously no getting away from the fact that it was a really difficult tour. And we know particularly at the front end of the tour, we played some really good cricket and kind of stood toe to toe. I think, obviously those last two ODI’s weren’t what we’re about as a team. And I think that’s one of the most disappointing things. You accept that you’re going to lose sometimes, but you at least want to lose the way you want to play. And we went away from that a little bit. But like you said, we’ve had, we’ve had quarantines, we’ve had some time in Queensland warm up games. So I think that’s, that’s completely behind us. And we’re just really excited to start our World Cup campaign.”
“I think in lots of respects, we don’t really have anything to lose coming out here tomorrow. I think like I said, before, we showed in the Ashes if we play our best cricket, that we’re really competitive, we just didn’t win those key moments. And the beauty of a World Cup is they’re all one off games. And we believe that if we play our best cricket on a one off day that will be really competitive.”
History at the tournament
Best result(s): 1973, 1993, 2009, 2017
England kept up their record of winning every ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup they have hosted by lifting the trophy in the most dramatic of circumstances in 2017.
Anya Shrubsole’s incredible six-wicket haul turned the final on its head against India at a sold-out Lord’s and secured England’s fourth success in this competition.
Just one has come overseas but it was memorable as a side led by Charlotte Edwards won on Australian soil in 2009, Claire Taylor scoring 324 runs and Laura Marsh taking 16 wickets – both tournament highs.
Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Freya Davies, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone, Tash Farrant, Amy Jones, Emma Lamb, Nat Sciver (vc), Anya Shrubsole, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danni Wyatt.
Travelling Reserves: Lauren Bell, Mady Villiers
Players to watch out for
Tammy Beaumont: She has been racking up the accolades since the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2017, they where she finished not just as a champion but as Player of the Tournament.
She ended England’s victorious campaign with 410 runs, including a high score of 148 against South Africa, before going on to be named ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year last year.
Katherine Brunt: While Beaumont was playing her first 50-over World Cup in 2017, Katherine Brunt was appearing in her fourth and will be back for more in New Zealand.
Brunt has taken bowled 208 overs at World Cups on her way to 25 wickets and two titles, the most of any of England’s squad.
Kate Cross: Her first appearance at a World Cup has been a long time coming, not making the squad for the 2017 edition inspired her to make certain she would be there in 2021.
An injury in the warm-up at the T20 World Cup in 2020 put that in doubt before Covid intervened and since then Cross has thrived.
The right-arm seamer took her first five-fer in ODIs against India last summer in a player-of-the-match performance.
Since then, she has had only one wicketless ODI, but even in that she had an economy of 4.00, and in the first ODI of the women’s Ashes she was England’s best performing bowler with three for 33.
- AUSTRALIA vs ENGLAND, Sat 05 March 06:30 IST, Seddon Park, Hamilton
- WEST INDIES vs ENGLAND, Wed 09 March 03:30 IST, University Oval, Dunedin
- SOUTH AFRICA vs ENGLAND, Mon 14 March 06:30 IST, Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
- ENGLAND vs INDIA, Wed 16 March 06:30 IST, Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
- NEW ZEALAND vs ENGLAND, Sun 20 March 03:30 IST, Eden Park, Auckland
- ENGLAND vs PAKISTAN, Thu 24 March 06:30 IST, Hagley Oval, Christchurch
- ENGLAND vs BANGLADESH, Sun 27 March 03:30 IST, Basin Reserve, Wellington
Excerpts for this article taken from ICC Online Media Zone (Courtesy: ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020)