Australian women's cricket team arrives

Published: Tuesday, December 7, 2004, 20:15 [IST]
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Bangalore:Australian women's cricket team arrived here last night to play seven One-day Internationals against India during the three-week-long tour.

Speaking to reporters here today, the visitors' captain Belinda Clark termed the trip challenging, noting that playing in the sub-continent is not easy.

The Indian team has the home advantage, added Clark, who needs to play a further five matches to become the first Australian woman to make 100 ODI appearances.

The series is a build-up for the World Cup to be held in South Africa in April next year, she said.

India are obviously underdogs having defeated the Aussies only once in 14 Limited Overs encounters. On its last tour to India (aside from the World Cup) in 1984, Australia recorded a 4-0 sweep.

But India are now high on confidence having had a string of successes in the last one year, defeating New Zealand 4-1 in 2003 at home, West Indies 5-0 in January-February 2004 and winning the Asia Cup in May 2004 in Sri Lanka.

Spinners are India's bet, and Captain Mamata Maben, who led the team to three consecutive series wins, said the side would give its best.

The Aussies, who have won the World Cup four times out of seven occasions, start off with a warm-up game against Sunetra Paranjpe-led India 'A' team in Mysore on December 9. The first two ODIs would be held at the same venue on December 11 and 13.

The action would then shift to Mumbai (December 16), Vapi (December 19), Ahmedabad (December 22), Aurangabad (December 24) and Chennai (December 28).

Australia's 13-member squad includes Cathryn Fitzpatrick, who is rated as the fastest female bowler, and twins Kate and Alex Blackwell. While Alex has eight ODIs under her belt, twin sister Kate is yet to make her debut. If she does so on this tour, the pair would become the first female twins to play cricket for Australia.

Commented Kate: "I've always dreamt of representing Australia and to potentially do that alongside Alex will be a great moment for us'.

The teams:

India: Mamata Maben (captain), Mithali Raj (vice-captain), Anju Jain (wicketkeeper), Anjum Chopra, Jaya Sharma, Hemalata Kala, Jhulan Goswami, Amita Sharma, Arundhita Kirkire, Varsha Reissal, Deepa Kulkarni, Neetu David, Noshin-Al-Kadeer and Monica Sumra.

Australia: Belinda Clark (captain), Karen Rolton (vice-captain), Alex Blackwell, Kate Blackwell, Leonie Coleman, Shelley Nitschke, Cathryn Fitzpatrick, Julie Hayes, Melanie Jones, Lisa Keightley, Clea Smith, Lisa Sthalekar and Emma Twining.

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