Captain’s praise for her team

CHARLOTTE Edwards flies back to Britain today (Wednesday) as captain of the Ashes-winning England ladies cricket team and in the form of her life. The Pidley all-rounder spoke to DAVE WOODS shortly before setting off for Blighty. The most successful to

CHARLOTTE Edwards flies back to Britain today (Wednesday) as captain

of the Ashes-winning England ladies' cricket team and in the form of her life. The Pidley all-rounder spoke to DAVE WOODS shortly before setting off for Blighty.

The most successful tour by an England ladies' side reached its conclusion on Monday with a resounding win in the final One Day International against New Zealand.

Edwards and her team flew to Australia more than six weeks ago for the most intensive tour any ladies' team has ever undertaken.


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After only two warm-up games, in temperatures above 30 degrees, they played a Twenty20 game followed by a five-match ODI series against Australia and then the single Ashes four-day test.

With little time to rest they flew on to New Zealand and after just one warm-up game completed another five-match ODI series against the hosts.

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Edwards said: "This has been a fabulous tour that has far exceeded my own expectations and even those of the England management - both in results and player development."

Edwards' side not only won the Ashes test match but also held the Aussies to a series draw at 2-2 in the ODIs before beating the Kiwis 3-1 in the ODI series in New Zealand.

The only match that got away from them was the Twenty20 against Australia which Edwards said 'probably came a little early in the tour'.

Asked about the highs and lows of the tour, Edwards found it difficult to single out one highlight.

"There have been so many highlights in such an intense six weeks it will be difficult to put our feet on the ground," she said.

"Winning the Ashes and my 100th ODI have to rate as high as anything that has happened from my own point of view.

"The low spots thankfully were few, but losing the first game to New Zealand when we should have won was a real downer.

"We had few difficult times but the short acclimatisation time was difficult. We left the UK in freezing conditions and within 36 hours had to prepare for a game in temperatures that exceeded 32 degrees - another five days of preparation time might have seen us win the Twenty20."

On the team and their achievements Charlotte was very positive: "We came here with a good side that needed some hard cricket to prepare for next year's World Cup and Twenty20. We knew we could win games and the whole team wanted to play attractive attacking cricket.

"We leave with a team of very seasoned and talented young players that will have frightened the life out of the southern hemisphere girls.

"I really don't want to single out anyone because they have all done far more than expected but I have to say that Claire Taylor's contribution has been magnificent."

Asked about her form, Edwards said: "I have been very pleased with the batting, which has probably seen me at my best. Once I've got in I haven't felt in trouble and I've nicked a few wickets of late.

"Like the rest of the team, the tour has been fairly injury-free so that's helped."

While the intensive tour has not seen much time for relaxation, Edwards admitted the team did find a few moments to let their hair down.

"There were lots of funny things that happened," she said. "But I still smile at the bus trip back from Bowral the day after we had won the Ashes. The team is a very young side and I don't think many of them had ever celebrated quite so passionately before.

"A fair amount of Australian wine and Fosters had been drunk after the game with the result that the journey back to Sydney had to have so many stops that we never got out of third gear.

"I do miss the home comforts and the family so it will be nice to have a few weeks getting back into a routine."

On the future, Edwards said she was looking forward to forthcoming fixtures this summer.

"We have India and South Africa coming over this year and neither side will be easy," she admitted. "It will be a good test to see how far the team have progressed and a chance to get in some prep­aration for next winter's World Cup.

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