England look to defend their crown as the 10th Women's Cricket World Cup gets underway in Mumbai and Cuttack from tomorrow. Osman Samiuddin predicts the five players who could shine at the tournament.
1: Charlotte Edwards (England) One of the longest-serving players in the game, the England captain is a legend already. This will be her fifth World Cup; in her first, in 1997, she hit an unbeaten 173 against Ireland a day before she turned 18. Took over as captain in 2006.
2: Sarah Taylor (England) In the news recently because she may play men’s cricket with the county side Sussex, the English wicketkeeper is recognised as one of the game’s finest talents. She is explosive with the bat and swift and clean behind the stumps.
3: Mithali Raj (India) The Indian captain is solid and dependable and has carried India’s batting through good times and bad, averaging over 48 from 141 ODIs. She led them to the World Cup final in 2005, and a memorable series win over England in 2006.
4: Ellyse Perry (Australia) The fastest bowler in women’s cricket, Perry became the youngest Australian to play at international level when she debuted in 2007 (she wasn’t then 17). Although she began as an all-rounder, she has become an out-and-out pace spearhead now.
5: Stafanie Taylor (West Indies) The game’s leading all-rounder, Taylor has been instrumental in the rise of the West Indies. Her form last year led her to win the ICC’s ODI Cricketer of the Year award; she averages 16 with the ball and nearly 46 with the bat.