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Cricket - 02. February 2008.

Edwards keen to challenge Aussies

England women’s captain Charlotte Edwards is definitely up for the challenge of competing against the best team in the women’s game, Australia, on their home turf.

“Playing Australia on home turf is the toughest challenge for any team,” she said. “They’re a strong outfit anywhere in the world, so to play them at home is doubly hard. But, that said, it is a challenge we’re relishing.”

The series kicks off with a Twenty20 at the MCG. The women’s game is the curtain-raiser for Australia v India in their Twenty20 game so crowds of up to 90,000 are expected at “The G” for the end of the women’s game.

“It’s a great occasion for any player to play at such a fantastic ground,” she continued. “It’s the Lord’s of Australia and to play there in front of what could potentially be a huge crowd will be a great experience.

“Twenty20 has worked wonders for the women’s game. Players are able to express themselves more and the game makes them realise what they can achieve. It’ll hopefully help to generate more interest in the women’s game especially if we start playing more curtain-raisers to big men’s matches. That exposure could be huge going forward.”

After the Twenty20, the teams head into a one-day series with two games back to back at the MCG on February 3 and 4.

“The ODI series will be hard with a lot of the games back to back. With the World Cup being held over here in a year’s time it’ll be great preparation and hopefully this series will give us a good indication of where we’re at at the moment.”

On February 5 both teams head to Sydney for the final three one-dayers. The third ODI will be played at the Drummoyne Oval while the final two will be held at The SCG.

“A few of us have played at the SCG before and it was a great experience then, so I’m sure it will be again this time. We feel very lucky to be playing at some of Australia’s top venues.”

Following the ODI series, the teams head to Bowral to the Bradman Oval for the only Test match to contest the women’s Ashes. England need only draw to retain the Ashes that they won for the first time in 42 years in 2005.

“We know that we only need to draw the Test to retain the Ashes, but that’s not our aim, we want to win like any game we play. It’s set up really nicely and to contest the Ashes at another great venue will be a great end to the tour.”

A boost to the squad is the news that pace bowler Katherine Brunt has returned from a back injury and will be joining them with an eye to competing in the one-day series in New Zealand which follows this tour of Australia.

“Katherine is a great asset to our side. We’ve not only missed her pace with the ball, but also her being around the dressing room. She’s a great character who can win matches for England.”

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