With the White Ferns soon to be heading over to India for the ICC Women's World Cup, we caught up with Coach Katrina Keenan ahead of their departure. Having taken over at the end of last year Katrina shared with us where they're at with the team's preparation, what she thinks the key to success will be and how she has enjoyed getting to know the players. Read on...
Under three weeks until the team play their first match of the ICC Women’s One Day world Cup, how are you feeling about where the team is at the moment?
We’re feeling very confident. We’ve had an excellent preparation, particularly in the domestic competition where there’s been a strong focus around the 50 over format.
A lot of the players who have been selected for the side are in excellent form. There have been some fantastic performances throughout the season, especially in the batting, so certainly confidence is high amongst the group heading into the World Cup.
The recent Rose Bowl series against Australia was really hard fought, from what you saw do you feel the team have the capability to compete for the Cup in India?
Absolutely. I think there is very little separating the skill level between the top teams so it’s going to be about sticking to your game plan and sticking to your individual strengths, as well as how teams cope under pressure – certainly under finals’ and semi-finals’ pressure.
There were some really encouraging performances over in Australia. The series as you said was very closely fought so we take a lot of confidence from that and obviously there’s been an opportunity to fine tune a couple of areas, so yeah, very confident we can compete and win this World Cup.
What do you think the key to the team’s success will be in the tournament?
I think the key for us is to stick to the game plan we’ve developed and for people focussing 100% on their strengths and areas of the game they have confidence in.
For us it’s going to be about us being able to execute our skills on a consistent basis. I think in the past we’ve shown that we can do that at various stages of the game, but we’ll be looking for that compete performance and that’s what will be required for the team to win this World Cup.
How much time has gone into looking at the other sides that you’ve got fixtures against and are likely to meet? Which team do you think go into the tournament as favourites?
I think in the past few years England and Australia have performed in terms of the T20 and One Day (World Cup).
In terms of looking at other teams that’s a big part of what we do in our preparation and we’ve looked at each of the sides that are taking part in the tournament and identified their strengths, but also looked at areas where we can assert ourselves in terms of putting pressure on or exploiting weaknesses.
It’s definitely a part of the game and part of the preparation, but it’s equally or even more so important that we focus on what we do and know that we are consistent, bowl the ball in good areas and as I said before stick to our strengths - that could well be a winning formula.
How has it been getting to know the girls in the side? Did you know many of them beforehand?
It’s been great! I mean it’s been a very quick transition for me, I’ve been in the role for a short amount of time, but my coaching philosophy is based around communication, clarity of roles and instilling confidence in people. That’s the philosophy I’ve come in with and it seems to be one that’s working well so far with the girls.
They’re a great bunch of girls. A wide range of people and skills and the team is coming together really well and the opportunity at the Rose Bowl together set that in motion I guess.
The women’s domestic finals were on in the weekend, you must have been thrilled to see Sophie Devine return from injury in such top form?
It was fantastic and very good timing for Sophie to be able to come in and see where she’s at in terms of her skills and just her recovery and rehab with her injury.
She played a very significant role (in the final), which was exactly the sort of role we’re looking at her to play in this White Ferns side, so in terms of where she’s at with her injury she is on track and we’re excited to have her back in the group.
And lastly, it’s your first major tournament as coach, I imagine you’re just as excited as the players are?
I am very excited! I’ve had experience playing in World Cups and was lucky enough to be part of the team that won the World Cup in 2000. You think about the volume of work that these girls put in, in terms of their preparation and I really believe that this side is capable of winning the World Cup, we just have to have a game-by-game, ball-by-ball focus.
As I mentioned earlier, it will come down to how teams manage themselves in pressure situations and that’s one of the exciting parts of cricket and I think it’s our turn to come out on the right side of that.
Good luck and all the best for the tournament!
Thanks and we really appreciate all of our fans support.