Indian girls eye fourth straight Asia Cup cricket winApril 30th, 2008 - 6:10 pm ICT by admin
Dubai, April 30 (IANS) Indian women’s cricket team will start their Asia Cup campaign as favourites and will be hoping to win the tournament for an unprecedented fourth time when the championship opens in Sri Lanka Friday. Besides the title triumph, Indian skipper Mithali Raj and pacer Jhulan Goswami will be aiming to register some individual milestones in the four-nation event.
The tournament, which will mark the debut of Bangladesh, will be played on a double-league format with the top two teams qualifying for the final.
The event will also serve as a launch pad for India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan’s preparations for ICC Women’s World Cup to be held in Australia in 10 months’ time.
Individually, India skipper Mithali will be hoping to put up some good batting displays which will help her rise in the list of all-time leading ODI run-scorers.
She is currently seventh with 2,776 runs with England’s Claire Taylor (2,995) and New Zealand’s Emily Drumm (2,844) ahead of her in fifth and sixth places respectively.
Australia’s Belinda Clark with 4,844 runs is the all-time leading run-scorer, followed by compatriot Karen Rolton (4,261), Debbie Hockley (4,064) of New Zealand and England’s Charlotte Edwards (3,304).
Meanwhile, Mithali’s team-mate Jhulan, who won the 2007 ICC Women’s Player of the Year Award in South Africa, is also on the verge of a record as she is set to become the second Indian after Neetu David and fourth overall in the history of the game to take 100 ODI wickets. The 24-year-old fast bowler from Bengal has 96 wickets from 79 ODIs.
Mithali said the Asia Cup would be the start of a tough season for her team in the run-up to the World Cup. “It’s definitely part of our preparations for the World Cup and is the start of the season for us.”
“We have a tour to England and Australia before the World Cup. If we have to work on combinations for our best team, then the Asia Cup is one tournament where we can try this out,” she said.
India won the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka in April 2004, in Pakistan in 2005-06 and in India in 2006/07. It has shown incredible consistency while winning all its 15 matches whereas Sri Lanka has won four of the 15 matches and Pakistan is without asingle win in eight games.
However, things might be different for India this time as Pakistan is coming into the tournament with its confidence sky-high after finishing second behind South Africa in the ICC Women`s World Cup qualifier held in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
In contrast, India`s last international assignment was 14 months ago when it hosted a quadrangular tournament that also involved Australia, New Zealand and England.
On India’s prospects in Asia Cup, Mithali said: “It’s good we have five girls who are making their debuts at this event. It`s a good platform for them before they play against top sides like Australia, New Zealand and England.”
India: Mithali Raj (captain), Jhulan Goswami, Jaya Sharma, Karuna Jain, Amita Sharma, Devika Palshikar, Rumeli Dhar, Thirush Kamini, Neetu David, Seema Pujare, Snehal Pradhan, Gouher Sultana, Anagha Deshpande, Asha Rawat, Priyanka Roy.
Bangladesh: Salma Khatun (captain), Sathira Zakir Jessy, Shukhtara, Ayesha Akhter, Irin Sultana, Chamily Khatun, Rumana Akhter, Panna Ghosh, Shamima Akhter Pinky, Jahanara Alam, Lily Rani, Tithi Rani, Papiya Haque Babu, Mina Khatun
Pakistan: Urooj Mumtaz (captain), Tasqeen Qadeer, Sajjida Shah, Bismah Maroof, Nain Abidi, Sana Javed, Sana Mir, Qanita Jalil, Asmavia Iqbal, Batool Fatima, Sadia Yousuf, Shumaila Mushtaq, Almas Akram, Javeria Khan.
Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka: Shashikala Siriwardene (captain), Chamari Polgampola, Dedunu Silva, Chamika Bandara, Suwini de Alwis, Eshani Lokusooriya, Chamani Seneviratne, Sandamali Dolawatta , Inoka Galagedara, Dilani Manadora, Janakanthimala, Deepika Rasangalie, Sumudu Fernando, Sripali Weerakkodi.
Tags: 10 months, asia cup cricket, belinda clark, bengal, claire taylor, compatriot, cricket team, cup campaign, hockley, indian girls, indian skipper, indian women, karen rolton, launch pad, nation event, neetu, odi, pacer, team mate, wickets