By ICC Media Release
Japan’s women’s cricket team are heading to Samoa in high spirits for the 2016 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier – East Asia-Pacific, with the goal of going one better than their second place finish two years ago.
Having won the tournament in 2010 and 2012 Japan lost a tight final to Papua New Guinea in 2014 but are aiming to go back to the top in 2016.
Despite the retirements of several senior players in 2014, there remains a lot of experience within the group alongside a handful of fresh faces.
Japan have taken a new approach to coaching in 2016 with a variety of coaches coming from Australia to work with the players. Lachlan Stevens (Victoria Bushrangers and Melbourne Renegades) ran a 10-day camp in May, while Nicole Martin (Australia Indoor Cricket) visited in June and will coach the team in Samoa.
Martin is optimistic about how the team will go, “This is a great group of girls who I can see really want to do well. They are committed and ambitious, which I love to see and I hope that we can replicate the good work in training when we get out in the middle.”
Last year the side visited South Korea to take part in the inaugural East Asia Cup, where they finished third behind China and Hong Kong with many new players gaining valuable experience.
This year has already been busy with four players selected in the East Asia-Pacific team who won the inaugural women’s Australian Country Cricket Championships.
Current captain Mai Yanagida and former captain Shizuka Miyaji were also invited to take part in the Hong Kong Women’s Premier League where they were able to play with and against current Australian internationals and receive specialist coaching from former Australian test player Stuart MacGill.
Japan Cricket Association CEO Alex Miyaji believes all this preparation will be one of the keys to success in Samoa, “We are really excited about our current women’s team. The players have improved a lot since the last tournament and the increased opportunities for players over the last 12 months puts the team in a really strong position heading into the tournament.”
The 2016 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier – East Asia-Pacific begins in Apia, Samoa on July 15 and will feature teams from Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Japan. The tournament is a double round robin with the team who finishes on top of the table progressing to the Global Qualifier for the 2017 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup.