Charlotte Edwards: England more than capable of winning Women’s World Cup
England’s former captain has backed the hosts to challenge for the trophy.
Charlotte Edwards is adamant hosts England can win this summer’s Women’s World Cup.
Edwards, who led her country to World Cup victory in Australia eight years ago, believes Heather Knight’s 2017 team have the collective ability to repeat the feat on home soil.
A clutch of England’s highest-profile players have been coy about their prospects of late, suggesting Australia will start as favourites.
Edwards does not buy that conservatism, though.
“I don’t believe for one minute that England feel like getting to the semi-finals will be a success,” said the 37-year-old, who bowed out of international cricket 13 months ago after a glittering career which began in 1996.
England set up a new regime under Knight and coach Mark Robinson, and Edwards reckons it could well lead them to global success.
All eight of England’s group matches will be televised live on Sky Sports, as will both semi-finals and the Lord’s final on July 23.
Strike bowler Katherine Brunt was a driving force in Edwards’ team which beat New Zealand in the 2009 final in Sydney, and both she and wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor are back to try to double up.
Edwards added: “They are more than capable of winning this tournament You can’t tell me that Katherine Brunt won’t have her eyes on the World Cup this summer.
“They should be making the final, and the way they are playing at the moment there is no reason why they cannot win it. They’ve improved so much in the last year.
“They have some tough opponents, of course, but they certainly have the talent to do it.”
Edwards is convinced, whoever prevails, that there will be some huge totals racked up along the way at several high-scoring venues.
“Even in the last 12 months, the totals that people are regularly scoring are going up,” she said.
“When I was playing, 250 was seen as a really good score. I don’t think the big teams will think that is enough now – it is looking more like 300, 300-plus. I think we’ll see some of those big scores in this tournament.
“As in the men’s game, the Twenty20 format has changed things. It’s taught people you can press on earlier than you thought you could – and, of course, there are more sixes now. It bodes well for this tournament that teams are realising what they can do.”
Edwards is highly encouraged by Taylor’s return after the stress-related issues which kept her away from all cricket for more than a year.
“It is a huge boost to the squad that Sarah has made herself available,” she said. “If she is anywhere near her best, I’m sure she’ll have a great tournament.”
Edwards was taken aback, from the first time she saw Taylor play, by her brilliance both behind and in front of the stumps.
The 28-year-old was back with an unbeaten 49 and three catches in England’s warm-up victory over Sri Lanka at Chesterfield on Monday.
Edwards said: “Without doubt, she is the most naturally gifted cricketer I have ever played with.
“Some of the stuff she could do – and without really that much practice – was unbelievable. She’s a complete natural and a match-winner – which is what you need at a World Cup.”
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