Australian skipper Meg Lanning wants the the five-time T20 World Cup-winning 'Southern Stars' to push the envelope a "little bit more" in its bid to win the first ever gold medal on offer in women's cricket at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Cricket will mark its return to the Commonwealth Games after a gap of 24 years in the Birmingham edition, starting later this month.
It will be the first time women's cricket will be a part of the quadrennial event.
"We are going over there to win gold, there's no doubt about that," Lanning was quoted as saying by Australian Associated Press (AAP). "We go out there to win every game that we can and the first Commonwealth Games medal up for grabs in women's cricket is certainly something we're striving for." Australia will open their campaign against India on July 29 at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground.
Australia is placed in Group A alongside India, Pakistan and Barbados.
Lanning asserted the team is working to get better in the format.
"It's something we have spoken about as a group as a whole and also within our skill groups as well, in terms of how do we get that little bit better and push the boundaries that little bit more than we have in the past.
"We have got a couple of things we have been working on both as a team and individually as well." Shelley Nitschke is serving as the interim coach of the team following the departure of Matthew Motts, who has been appointed as England men's white-ball coach.
"It is going to look and feel slightly different with Shell in charge as opposed to Motty," Lanning said.
"But both similar messaging in terms of how we want to play the game, take the game on, we certainly want to go out there and be aggressive and play with a lot of freedom." It will only be the second time that cricket features in the multi-discipline event after a men's competition was part of the Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and is considered a massive opportunity to bring the game to new audiences.
A Shaun Pollock-led South Africa had won the gold on that occasion, beating Steve Waugh's Australian side by four wickets in the final.
Australia will play two games each against Ireland and Pakistan In the run up to the CWG. "Being part of that bigger Australian team which is something we really want to embrace," she said.
"To represent Australia on a really big stage, a new platform for the game to be able to reach a new audience, is something that is really exciting for the sport.
"It's hugely special. I grew up watching a lot of the Commonwealth Games and I just love the team atmosphere."
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