England Women v India Women - Royal London ODI
Charlotte Edwards © Getty Images

England captain Charlotte Edwards believes the 2015 Women’s Ashes is the most “eagerly anticipated” series of her near 20-year international career. The 35-year-old made her England debut when the players were amateur, paid for their own kit and took the field wearing skirts. However, the woman’s game has changed significantly since Edwards first played for England in 1996 and when they face Australia in the first one-day international at Taunton, south-west England, for the start of the multi-format Ashes, it will be the first time the two sides have met as fully professional sides. “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. READ: England Women ODI squad for Women’s Ashes 2015 announced

“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. Australia are currently Women’s World Cup and 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,” said Edwards.

The format has been changed from the last Ashes, with the points for winning the lone Test match reduced from six to four, with all the limited-overs games providing two points for victory. Australia, in common with their men’s team, have not won a series in England since 2001, and captain Meg Lanning said: “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. READ: England women climb Mount Maunganui

“England are our fiercest rivals and we anticipate a competitive series that will go down to the wire,” she added. The three One-Day Internationals (ODI) during the series will also count towards the ICC Women’s Championship, which provides the qualifying framework for the 2017 World Cup in England.