England Women’s Cricket team head to the Australian capital Canberra today (Friday March 6) for their first official game of the 2009 ICC Women’s World Cup against Sri Lanka which will be played tomorrow (March 7) at the Manuka Oval.
The England squad contains a great blend of youth and experience with captain Charlotte Edwards participating in her fourth World Cup, while Holly Colvin, England’s nineteen year old left arm spinner, is playing in her first.
Colvin is therefore preparing to take a step into the unknown on Saturday but the teenager is anything but nervous.
"I can't wait," she said, "Playing for your country at the World Cup is the pinnacle of a cricketer's career and if I get picked on Saturday, then I will be really proud.
"The whole squad just wants the first game to come around now."
England’s first opponents Sri Lanka are something of an unknown quantity - India and Pakistan are the other two sides who make up Group B - but Colvin knows any opponent cannot be underestimated.
"I know very little about Sri Lanka," she admitted. "I have not played against them before, I know some of the girls played them in 2005, but since then we haven’t seen them. We will not take them for granted and take the game as it comes.
"I think it is exciting playing against a new team and new players. That's what's great about playing in a World Cup."
Following the journey to Canberra the squad will have a vigorous training session before winding down before the big kick-off.
"Our preparations have been going well,” she said. “I'm pleased with how everything is going. I'm bowling well and have been in a good rhythm. I have been playing in Australia for the last five months and that has stood me in good stead. I'm feeling confident."
England's performances in the warm-up matches have generally been encouraging, despite their 25-run defeat to Australia on Monday which was a game they should have won were it not for some inept batting.
Chasing 215 to win, England were well-placed at 150 for four but collapsed despite Charlotte Edwards' 72.
"It was really disappointing against Australia," said Colvin. "We thought it was a really great effort trying them down to 210 but we let ourselves down with the bat. We have to learn from our mistakes.
"Australia are in their own back yard and are probably the team to watch out for," said Colvin. "I think New Zealand are key opponents too. They drew 2-2 recently with Australia in the Rose Bowl.
"But we are not looking too far ahead, just focussing on the next game. With the way the tournament is structured, we have to make sure we win all of our games. That's essential. Our goal still remains the same though, to reach the final and win."
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS