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Last Updated: Monday, 8 August, 2005, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Karen Rolton Q&A
Karen Rolton
Australia's Karen Rolton is widely ackowledged as the best batter in women's international cricket.

She scored 107 not out to help her side win the World Cup final earlier this year and now has her sights set on beating England in the Women's Ashes.

Q. In your last international match you scored a century in the World Cup final. Looking back, what are your thoughts on that innings?

A. I was just happy to have made some runs and contribute to the team's score, let alone to make a century - that's something you dream of at the highest level and in a World Cup final.

I was pretty nervous in the early stages of the innings but in the end, just happy to have got some runs on the board and set India a competitive target.

Q. The 2001 tour to England was a personal triumph for you as well, capped by a double century at Headingley. How has your game progressed since then?

A. I think my game has progressed reasonably well. Overall, I think that I am a more patient player.

I have played a bit of men's cricket in Adelaide over the past few years and that's been very valuable for me as it's taught me to be more patient in the middle.

Q. Australia have not lost a one-day international against England since 1993 and have not lost a Test since 1984. Does that give the team extra confidence or provide added pressure?

Born: Adelaide 21.11.74
90 ODIs
3,296 runs, average 56.82, highest score 154 not out, 6x100, 24x50
71 wickets, average 21.43, best bowling 3-9
9 Tests
685 runs, average 76.11, highest score 209 not out, 2x100, 2x50
8 wickets, average 29.50, best bowling 2-6
Current Australia women's Player of the Year

A. As a team we don't really think too much about statistics and we don't realise certain things like not having lost an ODI match since 1993 until they are actually mentioned.

We enjoy playing against England. They pushed us at the World Cup in the semi-final so while we can be confident, we won't be overly confident.

We haven't played together since the World Cup so we're looking forward to resuming and being challenged again.

Q. What did you think of England's performance against you in the World Cup semi-final in Potchefstroom?

A. I think they played pretty well. They lost a few early wickets and then a couple of their batters dug in and got them to 150.

Their bowlers did well but I think it was their fielding that shone out. They out-fielded us in that match and that's something we will have to be careful of during this tour.

Q. Following Lucy Pearson's decision to retire, how significant do you think her absence from England's attack will be?

A. She's been a terrific player over many years so I think they will miss someone of her standing. I remember the last time we played England in a Test match at Bankstown Oval; she took 11 wickets and was their best bowler by far.

Perhaps at the moment they're a little inexperienced without Lucy, but she didn't play too many World Cup matches and they showed they could cope well, but certainly she's a large void for them to fill instantly.

Q. Presumably, winning the World Cup was Australia's main goal for 2005. Will you have the same intensity for the Women's Ashes?

A. The World Cup was certainly our goal at the start of this year, but we have a few new players in the squad now, as well as a new coach and a new assistant coach for this tour, so new people tend to bring more enthusiasm and that adds to your intensity.

We're ready for this tour. You don't get that many chances to play Test cricket and we also have a Twenty/20 match which gives us new areas to look forward to and we are ready for the challenges.

We have the same level of preparation and intensity for this tour as we did for the World Cup.

Q. There are one or two new faces in the Southern Stars squad. Apart from yourself, who else should spectators watch out for?

Karen Rolton
Rolton dominated the England attack in the 2001 Headingley Test
A. I think the Blackwell twins are ones to watch. Alex is starting to post a few more scores for us, as is Kate. They're two exciting batters and if they get going the crowds will enjoy watching them bat.

Sarah Edwards is another new player in our squad. She's very quick in the field, has a good arm and hits the stumps. She's also a talented batter who can bring a lot to the team.

Kirsten Pike is another addition. The pitches will probably suit her if they are a bit slower.

Q. There has been speculation that Belinda Clark will step down as skipper after the tour to concentrate on her new job at the Centre of Excellence. As her likely successor, do you feel you are ready for the extra responsibility?

A. I feel as though I would be ready if the opportunity comes up and if I was given that responsibility.

I have captained my state team for a few years now and deep down I would certainly like to captain Australia at some stage.

I have learnt a lot from Belinda Clark as a player and as a leader and it would be a privilege to take over from her if the opportunity presented itself.


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