|Event:||Women's Asia Cup 2008|
DateLine: 30th April 2008
India bids to make it four in a row in Asia Cup while Bangladesh ready for debut; Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami eye personal milestones
The countdown to next year's ICC Women's World Cup in Australia begins later this week in Sri Lanka when all three of the Asian teams taking part in the event Down Under go head-to-head in the Women's Asia Cup in Kurunegala and Dambulla from 2 to 11 May.
India will attempt to win the Asia Cup for an unprecedented fourth time and leads a field that also includes fifth-ranked Sri Lanka and eighth-ranked Pakistan.
The three Asian powerhouses are joined by Bangladesh, which will make its debut at this level after qualifying for the tournament following its triumph in the ACC Women's Tournament in Malaysia last year in July.
The tournament will be played on a double-league format with the top two teams qualifying for the final. It will also serve as a launch for the three teams to start their preparations for women cricket’s ultimate tournament which will be held in 10 months' time.
India captain Mithali Raj says the Asia Cup will be the start of a tough season for her team in the run-up to the World Cup. It's definitely part of our preparations for the World Cup and is the start of the season for us.
"We have a tour to England and Australia before the World Cup. If we have to work on combinations for our best team, then the Asia Cup is one tournament where we can try this out."
India won the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka in April 2004, in Pakistan in 2005-06 and in India in 2006/07. It has shown incredible consistency while winning all its 15 matches whereas Sri Lanka has won four of the 15 matches and Pakistan is winless from eight games.
India's opponent in the previous two finals was Sri Lanka while the inaugural event in Sri Lanka was a bilateral, best-of-five series as Pakistan did not take part in the tournament.
However, things might be different this time as Pakistan is coming into the tournament with its confidence sky-high after finishing second behind South Africa in the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier held in Stellenbosch, South Africa. That achievement earned it a place among the top teams at next year’s World Cup.
Pakistan has made three changes to the team which reached the final of the qualifying tournament earlier this February and captain Urooj Mumtaz believes the Asia Cup will be a good learning experience for her young team: It's good for the confidence of the players and the team to come into this tournament after achieving something substantial in the previous event.
But we know it's a huge task ahead of us in the Asia Cup with India ranked number two and Sri Lanka ranked in the top six.
We've been analysing our performances from the World Cup Qualifier, our strengths and weaknesses, and if we play to our potential here we can pull off some great wins.
"The Asia Cup will be a great learning experience for us," added the 22-year-old batsman from Karachi.
In contrast, India's last international assignment was 14 months ago when it hosted a quadrangular tournament that also involved Australia, New Zealand and England.
Looking ahead to the Asia Cup, Mithali said: It's good we have five girls who are making their debuts at this event. It's a good platform for them before they play against top sides like Australia, New Zealand and England.
"Every team tries to improve every time it plays. I think Sri Lanka is a very good fielding side as they are very agile in the field and Pakistan has a good set of spinners and some depth in its batting," said the 25-year-old batsman from Jodhpur, Rajisthan.
Sri Lanka’s last international appearance was in the Asia Cup in India in December 2006. However, most of the Sri Lanka players attended the High Performance Programme in Colombo in September 2007 which was conducted by ICC's High Performance Manager Richard Done.
Shashikala Siriwardene, who has been retained as Sri Lanka captain, hopes her team will do one better this time. We've taken part in the last three Asia Cups and come in the final each time. We are (now) hoping to do one better this time.
"It’s a good tournament with India and Pakistan, who have also qualified for the World Cup. It's like a practice tournament for the World Cup for us and I am hopeful we can win."
Bangladesh had maintained a high level of consistency in its performance over five matches in the ACC Women’s Tournament in Malaysia last year and had remained unbeaten throughout the tournament.
Panna Ghosh, the lanky all-rounder, was Bangladesh's star performer and was rewarded for valuable contributions by winning the player of the tournament award. Her final tally at the event was nine wickets and 71 runs.
A couple of individual milestones are also up for grabs for India players.
Mithali will be hoping to put up some good batting displays which will help her rise in the all-time leading ODI run-scorers' list. Mithali currently lies seventh with 2,776 runs with England's Claire Taylor (2,995) and New Zealand's Emily Drumm (2,844) above her in fifth and sixth places respectively.
Australia's Belinda Clark with 4,844 runs is the all-time leading run-scorer, followed by compatriot Karen Rolton (4,261), Debbie Hockley (4,064) of New Zealand and England's Charlotte Edwards (3,304).
Mithali’s team-mate Jhulan Goswami, who won the Women’s Player of the Year at the ICC Awards in 2007 in South Africa, is set to become the second Indian after Neetu David and fourth overall in the history of the game to take 100 ODI wickets.
The 24-year-old fast bowler from Bengal sits on 96 wickets from 79 ODIs while the list is headed by Australia's Cathryn Fitzpatrick (180). David, who returns to the team after coming out of retirement, has 130 wickets and Clare Taylor of England has 102 wickets.
Jhulan's compatriot Nooshin Al Khadeer also has 96 wickets but she will have to wait a little longer to join the elite group as she is not part of the squad for the Asia Cup.
The matches between India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan will have ODI status.
ICC Women's World Cup:
The ICC Women's World Cup to be staged in Australia in 2009 will be the first to be played under the auspices of the ICC since its merger with the International Women's Cricket Council (IWCC) in 2005.
Defending champion Australia is joined by India, New Zealand, England, Sri Lanka and West Indies which earned automatic qualification for the 2009 tournament after their top six finish in the Women's World Cup 2005 in South Africa while South Africa and Pakistan complete the line-up after qualifying for the final of the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier held in Stellenbosch, South Africa in February.
The Women's World Cup has been running for longer than the men's version and was first staged in England in 1973, when it was won by the hosts, which beat Australia by 118 runs in the final at Edgbaston, Birmingham.
Since then there have been a further seven tournaments with Australia winning five of them (1978, 1982, 1988, 1997 and 2005), England winning once more (in 1993) and New Zealand triumphing in 2000.
The tournament has been staged twice each in England (1973 and 1993), India (1978 and 1997) and New Zealand (1982 and 2000) as well as Australia (1988) and South Africa (2005).
Women's cricket came under the auspices of the ICC and ACC in 2005 when the ICC merged with the International Women's Cricket Council (IWCC). Before the merger, the IWCC had 15 members and since integration the women's game has grown fast and there were now 59 members with formal girls' and/or women's teams playing in structured cricket competitions.
A further 30 do not have competition teams yet but do have girls in junior development initiatives. That makes 89 of ICC's 101 members with some women's cricket and it is growing all the time.
Bangladesh: Salma Khatun (captain), Sathira Zakir Jessy, Shukhtara, Ayesha Akhter, Irin Sultana, Chamily Khatun, Rumana Akhter, Panna Ghosh, Shamima Akhter Pinky, Jahanara Alam, Lily Rani, Tithi Rani, Papiya Haque Babu, Mina Khatun
India: Mithali Raj (captain), Jhulan Goswami, Jaya Sharma, Karuna Jain, Amita Sharma, Devika Palshikar, Rumeli Dhar, Thirush Kamini, Neetu David, Seema Pujare, Snehal Pradhan, Gouher Sultana, Anagha Deshpande, Asha Rawat, Priyanka Roy.
Pakistan: Urooj Mumtaz (captain), Tasqeen Qadeer, Sajjida Shah, Bismah Maroof, Nain Abidi, Sana Javed, Sana Mir, Qanita Jalil, Asmavia Iqbal, Batool Fatima, Sadia Yousuf, Shumaila Mushtaq, Almas Akram, Javeria Khan.
Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka: Shashikala Siriwardene (captain), Chamari Polgampola, Dedunu Silva, Chamika Bandara, Suwini de Alwis, Eshani Lokusooriya, Chamani Seneviratne, Sandamali Dolawatta , Inoka Galagedara, Dilani Manadora, Janakanthimala, Deepika Rasangalie, Sumudu Fernando, Sripali Weerakkodi.
2 May – Sri Lanka Women v Pakistan Women, Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium; India Women v Bangladesh Women, Welagedara Stadium, Kurunegala
3 May – Sri Lanka Women v India Women, Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium; Pakistan Women v Bangladesh Women, Welagedara Stadium, Kurunegala
5 May – India Women v Pakistan Women, Welagedara Stadium, Kurunegala; Sri Lanka Women v Bangladesh, Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium
6 May – Sri Lanka Women v Pakistan Women, Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium; Bangladesh Women v India Women, Welagedara Stadium, Kurunegala
8 May – Sri Lanka Women v India Women, Welagedara Stadium, Kurunegala; Bangladesh Women v Pakistan Women, Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium
9 May – India Women v Pakistan Women, Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium; Sri Lanka Women v Bangladesh Women, Welagedara Stadium, Kurunegala
11 May – Final, Welagedara Stadium, Kurunegala
Notes to Editors:
Unlike the preview, reports and scorecards will not be sent out on our email list but will be available on the ICC website and are free for editorial use. It is hoped photographs will also be available. Match reports and scorecards will be posted on the website as soon as possible after the close of play, a time that will naturally depend on several factors, not least match situation and weather.
- England in India 2020/21
- England in Sri Lanka 2020/21
- ICC Women's World Cup 2020/21
- ICC World Cup Super League 2020 to 2022
- India Women in Australia 2020/21
- Nepal in Qatar 2020/21
- New Zealand in Australia 2020/21
- Pakistan Women in South Africa 2020/21
- Pakistan Women in Zimbabwe 2020/21
- South Africa in Pakistan 2020/21
- West Indies in Bangladesh 2020/21