STAMFORD Bridge player Lauren Winfield could be the key to England’s success in the ICC Women’s World Cup, according to former captain Charlotte Edwards.

The Yorkshire captain, who still turns out occasionally for her village side, is set to open the England batting with Tammy Beaumont when the World Cup starts in Derby this weekend.

The first Women’s World Cup on home soil for 24 years, England have never lost the tournament on British shores since its inaugural edition in 1973 - a record Winfield and her team-mates will be keen to maintain.

Edwards - who skippered the national side for ten years before her retirement last season - believes Winfield, 26, will blossom in the spotlight.

"It’s all going to be very new for Lauren but she’s pretty level-headed and I know how excited she is to open the batting for England at a World Cup," said Edwards.

"She’ll be nervous because this is a massive tournament for her to really establish herself on the world stage.

"She won’t mind me saying this, but she hasn’t played against the 'big' countries as much - and there is nothing more satisfying for a player than performing against those teams, like Australia or New Zealand, and getting big scores against them.

"She will be really excited about the opportunity but nervous about coming into a home World Cup," Edwards added. "But they will be good nerves and she will really want to establish herself on the international scene. Knowing Lauren as I do, she’ll be really looking forward to that challenge."

Edwards says Winfield’s partnership with Beaumont could be the biggest weapon in England’s armoury.

The pair hit 147 against Pakistan last year to achieve the highest score ever recorded by an English duo in women’s Twenty20 international cricket.

"Having opened the batting a lot for England myself, I know you get a really good feeling walking out to the middle with someone you have formed such a strong relationship with," she said.

"Lauren and Tammy will be really solid, they’ll be really confident together, and that makes a big difference - this will be their biggest test as a partnership.

"Lauren is such a good player. She just needs to take it to the next level now. She’s had lots of experience playing around the world, including in the Big Bash, so she’ll feel comfortable and know the people she’s playing against, now it’s just going out there and performing.

“She’s been really unfortunate in missing out on the last couple of T20 World Cups but she would also admit that she wasn’t in form and she hadn’t scored the runs to push herself for selection for those tournaments.

“She’s now got a good year of cricket behind her and she’s got confidence," Edwards added. "It’s amazing what that can do. She knows that spot is her own now."

The ICC Women’s World Cup (24 June – 23 July) will see the best eight ODI teams in the world compete for glory in England and Wales. Tickets available at