Indian eves start as favourites for Asia Cup

Published: Saturday, December 23, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Jaipur:Indian women will be aiming to complete a hat-trick of Asia Cup titles when they take on Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the triangular tournament starting here from tomorrow.

India won the inaugural tournament in Sri Lanka in 2004 and successfully defended the title the following year in Pakistan. The Mithali Raj-led side will launch its title defence against traditional rivals Pakistan at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

Mithali said she is confident her team will achieve victory and is looking at the tournament as a preparation for next Februarys quadrangular series involving world champions Australia, England and New Zealand in Chennai.

''There is no doubt our objective is to complete a hat-trick of titles and make our country proud. Pakistan and Sri Lanka may be relatively new to this level but still we have to produce our best to achieve the goal,'' she said.

''At the same time this tournament will provide us with a good opportunity to try out a few new girls and also different combinations so we are better prepared for next years quadrangular series,'' she added.

It will be a special and historic time for the Pakistan team as it makes its first international appearance overseas since the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) took control of women's cricket in the country.

It is also Pakistans first overseas tour since the International Womens Cricket Council (WICC) merged with the International Cricket Council (ICC) last year.

Pakistan captain Urooj Mumtaz Khan said her team is young and inexperienced but believes things are heading in the right direction.

''We are new to international cricket but the good news is that we are moving on the right path,'' she said.

''The girls are improving day-by-day and with a comprehensive womens cricket plan in place, I am sure we will cover the long distance in a relatively short period. This event is our build-up to our next months tour to South Africa for a five-match series and then the 2007s ICC Womens Cricket World Cup Qualifying Tournament (WCWQT),'' she elaborated.


India: Mithli Raj (Capt), Jhulan Goswami(v-capt), Sulakshna Naik, Anjum Chopra, Sunetra Paranjpe, Hemlata Kala, Reema Malhotra, Nooshin Al Khadeer, Amita Sharma, Priti Dimri, Rajeshwari Goyal, Trish Kamini, Rumeli Dhar and Devika Palshikar.

Pakistan: Urooj Mumtaz (capt), Taskeen Qadeer, Bismah Maroof, Syed Sajida Shah Khan, Sana Javed, Sana Mir, Syeda Batool Fatima Naqvi, Shumaila Mushtaq, Asmavua Iqbal, Qanita Jalil, Maryam Butt, Khursheed Jabeen, Sabahat Rashid and Syeda Nain Fatima Abidi.


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