Heather Knight: ‘We want to make history’

The England women’s team is geared up to defeat India in its own backyard in the three-match One-Day International series.

Heather Knight addresses the media ahead of the first ODI, which takes place on Friday.   -  Prashant Nakwe

The England women’s cricket team hopes to script history by defeating India in its own backyard for the first time in a One-Day International (ODI) series.

Ahead of the first ODI at the Wankhede Stadium here, Heather Knight, the England captain, stated the team’s intentions. “We have talked about [our goals]. It’s something we want to do as a team. We want to make history. When we came here last year, it was a slightly younger team. We weren’t able to do that; we lost that series 2-1.”

The teams have locked horns in high-profile contests in the recent past. At the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2017, the teams played the final; India lost after having been well in the hunt for much of the contest. The semifinal at the ICC World T20 in 2018 was more one-sided; again, India lost.

'Good games'

Commenting on the rivalry with India, Knight said, “We have had some amazing games; that World Cup final was an amazing game to be involved in. Obviously, the enormity of the occasion [was immense]: to be in a World Cup final, to be sold out at Lord’s. We’ve played some good games, including last year in Indian conditions as well.”

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England’s strength, admitted Knight, was the depth in the side. “The ODI cricket we have played in the last couple of years, including the World Cup in England, that’s been very good. We have got performances from different players. We have got inexperience and a group that has been around for a while as well. We’ve got quite a settled batting line-up and everyone of the batters in the top six or seven are match-winners. So hopefully a lot more players can step up, as they have done in the last two years,” she said.

A big blow

A fact that could make the task easier for the side is the absence of India’s Harmanpreet Kaur due to injury. “She has been a very good player for them. She has been playing in the leagues around the world. I know what sort of player she is. Any team in the world would miss her,” Knight said.

What could also help her team is her knowledge of opener Smriti Mandhana — the two have played for Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League together. “I have obviously played with Smriti in Hobart [Hurricanes], very recently. She played in my team, so I know her very well. I know she’s a very good player. And having seen a lot of her, obviously, it gives us the chance to look at her weaknesses as well and try and figure out how we’re going to exploit them in the series,” she said.