Women's Cricket: Brittin expects every woman to do her duty as England fly out to take on the world

The England women's cricket team fly to India today to defend the World Cup.

Mike Rowbottom witnessed their final training session at Surrey's indoor centre.

Cricket tours to India have been known to throw up the odd problem - as it were - and the one on which the England women's team embark today has run true to form - as it were.

"We are flying to Delhi," England's record scorer, Jan Brittin, said. "But we have heard that the opening ceremony is in Calcutta."

As they prepare to retain the World Cup they won within these shores four years ago, England are aware that the next four weeks are going to involve a lot of travelling.

Hyderabad, Pune and Nagpur are already scheduled for group matches. Then they hope to be venturing further afield for the knock-out stages.

The holders, who have received coaching advice from Mike Gatting, Dermot Reeve and Geoff Arnold in the past year, have been named joint favourites along with New Zealand, who they beat in the last World Cup final, at Lord's.

The Kiwis are in the other group, along with the hosts. England's main immediate opposition will come from South Africa and Australia.

All the usual precautions are being taken to avoid the fate which befalls so many sporting tourists in India. When England last played there 18 months ago, Clare Connor, who is among those flying out, spent three days in hospital with a severe stomach upset. So, bottled water and no salads.

The England party which leaves Heathrow tonight is a different proposition to the one which toured India in 1996. Previously undreamt of funding has offered the players a level of support that Rachael Heyhoe-Flint would have killed for.

This year there was a National Lottery award of pounds 76,000 to the Women's Cricket Association, plus inclusion in the four-year, pounds 14m sponsorship deal which Vodaphone have signed with both the national teams.

Not the least advance is removing the obligation on players to pay their own way, or at least to contribute hugely towards it. Even three years ago, players were contributing pounds 2,000 each to tour Australia.

"I dread to think how much I have paid over the years," said Brittin, who has played internationally for more than 20 years, "although I wouldn't have not gone."

When she goes this time, she and her 13 colleagues will be accompanied by a manager, two coaches, a physiotherapist and two sports scientists skilled in sports psychology. And as well as feeling different to the way they did in previous years, England will also look different - this year their traditional culottes have been replaced by trousers.

The trousers era looks like being the beginning of the Charlotte Edwards era for the World Cup holders. This 17-year-old from Pidley near Huntingdon has already made her mark opening the batting with Brittin since becoming the youngest England player when she was capped at the age of 16.

Edwards has already shown she is made of stern stuff - she learned her cricket playing for boys teams, and turns out regularly alongside her father and brother for Ramsey in the Cambridgeshire Premier League. She doesn't sound like the type to be put off by a few bouncers and a spot of sledging...

1997 HERO HONDA WORLD CUP (India, 9-29 Dec): England group matches: 10 Dec v South Africa (Hyderabad); 12 Dec v Pakistan (Vijayawada); 14 Dec v Denmark (Hyderabad); 16 Dec v Ireland (Pune); 18 Dec v Australia (Nagpur). 20 Dec: 9th-12th place play-offs. 20-23 Dec: Quarter-finals. 24 and 26 Dec: Semi-finals. 29 Dec: Final (Calcutta).

Suggested Topics
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game