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
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again say analysts

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

Life and Style
fashion

British supermodel and hitmaker join forces to launch a 'huge song'

News
news

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announce they are set to welcome second child in spring

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually a challenging and nuanced title

Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
News
i100
News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Sport
Fans of Palmeiras looks dejected during the match between Palmeiras and Santos
footballPalmeiras fan killed trying to 'ambush' bus full of opposition supporters
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

NQT Job Opportunties in Winsford

£85 - £100 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Are you a Newly Qualified Teac...

Year 3 Teachers needed for supply roles

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Ye...

Year 1 Teachers needed for day to day roles

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Year 2 Teachers needed for day to day roles

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Ye...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past