Maben bullish about India's chances in 1st ODI

Published: Friday, December 10, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Mysore:A confident Indian women's cricket team would be hoping to put it across four-times world champions Australia when they square off in the first of the seven-match One-day series kickstarting at the Infosys ground in Mysore on Saturday.

The formidable Aussies team would start as firm favourites given India's poor record against the tourists. The Indians have beaten Australia only once in fourteen ODI encounters.

But Indian skipper Mamata Maben, who spearheaded the side to three consecutive victories, two series wins against New Zealand, West Indies and the Asia Cup, said that her team have prepared well for the series and are keen to give off their best.

"Obviously, Australia are the number one side in the world. They've won the World Cup four times and have a good all-round side. It won't be easy."

"Having said that, I must say we have prepared ourselves well. We hope to put our best foot forward," she said.

The seasoned skipper said that the Indian team has the home advantage and hoped to capitalize on them.

"Home advantage is a factor. That apart we'd have to play well as a team. Aussies being one of the best sides around, we are sure that this series won't be a cakewalk," Maben said.

Maben, who played 35 ODIs for India, said that the hosts have a good spin attack in Neetu David, Deepa Kulkarni and Noshin-Al-Kadeer and added that on their day can sent many a side scurrying for cover.

"Neetu, Noshin and Deepa are all quality spin bowlers. They've served well for us in recent times. I'm sure they will come into their own in this series," she said.

On India's batting, Maben said that the batting is in good health with the likes of Mithali Raj, Anjum Chopra and Anju Jain shouldering the responsibility.

"Mithali Raj has done for us at the top of the order. Anjum Chopra is another who has consistently comes up with the goods. Wicketkeeper-batswoman Anju Jain is another decent batswoman. If they come good and the rest complement them, I'm sure we can be very competitive opponents for Australia," she observed.

When asked whether they devised any strategy to counter Cathryn Fitzpatrick, regarded as the world's fastest female bowler, Maben said they have plans up their sleeve to nullify the Aussie plans.

"Cathryn Fitzpatrick is the quickest female bowler in women cricket. We've formulated plans to counter her. Not only Cathryn, we have to be wary of many other big-guns in the Aussie ranks," she remarked.

On the strip to be used for the opening One-dayer, Maben felt that the wicket has lot of bounce and should be full of runs.

"The track looks good for batting. There should be good carry for the seam bowlers. Fair to say that it's an ideal ODI wicket," said Maben, who has an ODI best of 53.

Maben agreed that the a series triumph over the World Champions would be a good build-up for the forthcoming seventh World Cup to be held in South Africa in April 2005.

"This is the last international engagement before the big one in South Africa. It will be a great confidence-booster for us if we can overwhelm the Aussies in our backyard. Our preparations will be on sound footing if we're able to accomplish that," Maben signed.

Team: 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.

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