Cricket: Wyatt looking to erase bad memories in World Cup
DANIELLE Wyatt says determination to avoid being the bridesmaids once again is motivating England's women cricketers ahead of their World Cup campaign.
The 21-year-old all-rounder is part of a 15-strong squad who fly to India tomorrow for a 10-day training camp in preparation for next month's 50-over competition on the sub-continent.
England will start the event as favourites to retain the trophy they won for the third time in 2009.
But they were also odds-on to be crowned Twenty20 champions last October, only to suffer a shock four-run final defeat to Australia in Sri Lanka.
Wyatt, from the Westlands in Newcastle, says the squad have learnt from that setback.
"The feeling of losing in the Twenty20 World Cup final was horrendous," she said.
"I don't want to experience that again. It was my first world final, and watching the Australian girls lift the trophy made me feel sick.
"Whether it was nerves on our behalf, I'm not sure, but we are all focused on this tournament. We are hungry to defend our title and bring the trophy home again."
Wyatt had yet to break into the senior squad when Charlotte Edwards' side clinched that success in Australia four years ago.
But this tour will evoke fond memories for the Nottinghamshire player, who announced her arrival on the international stage in India the following year.
Wyatt made an immediate impact on her debut, making a match-winning 28 not out to guide England to victory in a one-day international in Mumbai.
"I've got good memories of touring India because it was where it all started for me," she added.
"My debut will be on my mind when I'm in India again. I only played one 50-over game and a Twenty20 match, but the trip helped me get used to batting on the sub-continent. I can still picture my first international run, guiding the ball to third man off Jhulan Goswami.
"That debut innings was what dreams are made of. It was my first tour and I received a lot of banter from the girls, but the heat we played in is also a vivid memory."
The oppressive conditions appear to be one of the few obstacles in England's way to a successful defence of their crown.
Coach Mark Lane has left no stone unturned to ensure his squad are at the peak of their powers when they get down to business on February 2.
"The 10 days in Pune will help us acclimatise to the conditions, and we're also playing Pakistan and New Zealand in warm-up matches," added Wyatt, who has 19 one-day caps.
"I can't wait to get out there instead of training indoors. It will also be good to practice batting in sub-continent conditions.
"We've been working hard on spin and facing the Merlin bowling machine, which turns the ball even more than the girls do.
"There has also been a big emphasis on fitness work at Loughborough and Edgbaston, and the results suggest we are in tip-top shape."
England, who have been drawn in Group A, start the competition with a match against Sri Lanka at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium. Hosts India and West Indies are their other group opponents on February 4 and 6 respectively.
Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa will contest Group B.
The top three from each section move through to the 'Super Six stage', with the leading duo then progressing to the final, which is being held on February 17 at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai.
"There's no extra pressure on us because we're defending champions," said Wyatt.
"We're the number one team in the world for a reason, so we've got to go out there and show it.
"Australia, New Zealand, West Indies and India are the main dangers, but we've been working on plans for all of our opponents, so we're prepared.
"We just have to keep working hard and hopefully I'll impress in the two warm-up games to cement my place in the side for when the tournament starts."