England look for winning touch

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The Independent Online

England's women begin their assault on the World Cup in earnest at Chelmsford tomorrow when they take on South Africa in the first of five one-day internationals.

England's women begin their assault on the World Cup in earnest at Chelmsford tomorrow when they take on South Africa in the first of five one-day internationals.

It will be the last chance of international cricket for either side before the World Cup starts in Christchurch, New Zealand, on November 24.

And coach Paul Farbrace is well aware of the importance of the five games against the up-and-coming South Africans.

He said: "It is important that we win this series after the whitewash in Australia and New Zealand at the start of the year."

He put the women, under new captain Clare Connor from Brighton, through a gruelling training session in the hot sun at the Essex County Ground yesterday.

"The team need to get into the habit of winning. We have picked some younger girls for the first three of these five games and we will see how they get on.

"We are also hoping for good performances from some of our established players who did not fulfil their potential in the winter.

"This is a huge series for us, not just for individuals, but for the whole women's game in this country."

Farbrace and his assistant Graham Dilley will be keeping a special eye on the two teenage newcomers - 16-year-old spinner Laura Harper from Cornwall, the youngest player ever to be called up by England, and Lancastrian Arran Thompson, who is 18.

After the opener at Chelmsford the other 50-over games take place at Trent Bridge (June 22), Canterbury (June 25), Taunton (June 28) and Worcester (July 1).

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