England eves prepare with ~~chilli competition~~

Published: Tuesday, September 5, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London: Boot camps and para-military trainings maybe in the vogue for male cricketers but the English eves went even further and had a chilli-eating competition to prepare themselves for their February tour of India for a quadrangular World Series.

England all-rounder Rosalie Birch revealed that the team members have been encouraged to eat Indian food while coach Richard Bates in fact had arranged a chilli-eating competition.

In her BBC Sports column, Birch sounded enthusiastic about the series and said, ''This will involve another trip to India, so we have encouraged the new girls in the team to eat the Indian food provided at games this summer.'' Amused by the food habits of the Mithali Raj-led Indian side in the just concluded series, Birch said, ''We found it hilarious how the Indians added their own curry paste and pickles because they found the food too mild.

''But our players will not be laughing when their mouths are burning up in India,'' she added on a lighter vein.

''Our lovely coach Richard Bates suggested a chilli eating competition to get some practice in.

''I thought I would be fine, but my face turned a bright shade of red, my heart raced, and I began sweating - a lot! The new girls seemed to cope well but I'm convinced there was some cheating going on,'' she quipped.

The cricketer was also happy to thrash India 4-0 in the ODI series even though India won the Test series.

''Success is always sweet, but it was even more so when we won the one-day series against India 4-0. After our 4-1 winter hammering in India, to reply with a whitewash was a great turnaround.

''What has been pleasing is the way everyone has played a part in our success this summer. We got into trouble on a couple of occasions but the sign of a good team is when it digs itself out of a hole - and we did just that,'' she said.

''As the old cliche goes, you're only as good as your last game and we were brought down to earth with a bump, losing the second Test narrowly.

''Although it was frustrating to give India a victory to return home with, the main focus of women's cricket is ODIs, and this is ultimately what we are judged on,'' she elaborated.

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