Charlotte Edwards hopes to inspire England to Ashes glory

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England captain Charlotte Edwards believes the Women's Ashes can reach new heights this summer.

Edwards, 35, has seen and done more than most having made her England debut in 1996 - a time when women were still required to play in skirts and had to pay for their own kit.

Things are changing rapidly though, and when the multi-format Ashes series gets under way with the first Royal London One-day international at Taunton on Tuesday, the rivals will meet for the first time as fully professional outfits.


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Ticket sales have also been strong as the England side look to make it a hat-trick of successful Ashes campaigns against the reigning 50 and 20-over world champions, with around 3,000 expected at Somerset.

"The 2015 Women's Ashes is possibly the most eagerly anticipated series that I have ever been involved with during my international playing career," said Edwards.

"The excitement throughout the England squad is tangible - we have been preparing hard for this for a long time now, and everyone is ready for the action to get under way in Taunton.

"This summer we hope that more fans than ever before will come to watch us play. The seven-match multi-format series - involving for the first time ever, two fully professional international women's teams - gives us the perfect platform to inspire women and girls everywhere to love and play cricket.

"Australia are currently ICC Women's World Cup and ICC World T20 champions, but we have won the Women's Ashes back-to-back in 2013 and 2014, so the series is sure to be closely contested, and we will be doing everything we can to make it three in a row."

The format has been tinkered slightly from the last two editions, with the points on offer in the Kia Women's Test at Canterbury reduced from six to four, while the limited-overs games continue to offer two points per win.

Australia, like their male counterparts, have not beaten England on their own turf in an Ashes series since 2001 and that is a fact not lost on touring skipper Meg Lanning.

"Cricket contests between Australia and England have a special place in the hearts and minds of the players and public and we, like the Australian men's team, hope that we can inspire the next generation of players and fans and do our nation proud in our respective Ashes series," she said.

"We are looking forward to another competitive series against England and will be doing everything in our power to win back the Women's Ashes. England are our fiercest rivals and we anticipate a competitive series that will go down to the wire."

As well as battling for Ashes glory, the three ODI encounters will count towards the ICC Women's Championship - the qualifying structure for the 2017 World Cup in England.

Australia sit top of that table while the hosts currently sit sixth, though a clean sweep for England would see them leap to the head of the standings.

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