England's WC coach sheds tears of pride

England coach Lisa Keightley says the pressure is on Australia to produce a hometown World Cup win.
England coach Lisa Keightley says the pressure is on Australia to produce a hometown World Cup win.

England's coach for the T20 women's World Cup was reduced to tears on Thursday - but it wasn't her team's recent shock loss to Sri Lanka that left emotions running high.

Lisa Keightley is a familiar face in Australian cricket, having coached the WA Fury and Perth Scorchers for the past four years.

Keightley left the WA set-up in December to take the reins of England's national women's side, and the Australian arrived back in Perth this week ahead of the T20 World Cup.

World No.2 England are one of the main contenders expected to challenge favourites Australia for the title.

But Keightley's team copped a big wake-up call earlier this week during a 10-wicket loss to world No.8 Sri Lanka in their final warm-up match.

That loss stung - but not enough to produce any tears.

Instead, it was when Keightley reflected on WA's recent one-day title triumph over NSW that the respected coach welled up with pride.

And it wasn't surprising, given it was WA's first national domestic championship in 33 years and Keightley played a key role in shaping that team.

"I was extremely happy for the players," Keightley said while fighting back tears.

"I get a bit emotional, because you see a group of players that you've worked with for four years do what they want to do, and that's to win.

"I watched the first innings at home and then I left because we were playing a game against NZ.

"Our (England) media manager is allowed his phone, so he was giving me updates on how we were going."

Keightley will squeeze in some catch-ups with her former WA players over the coming days.

But her main focus is squarely on guiding England to victory in their World Cup opener against South Africa at the WACA Ground on Sunday.

She says her team's big loss to Sri Lanka was a big wake-up call.

"I think it was a timely reminder moving into the World Cup - if you don't turn up, you'll get beat," she said.

Keightley expects the upcoming World Cup will be the best ever given the improvement in women's cricket in recent years and the number of countries that are legitimate contenders.

She said the pressure will be on Australia given it's their home World Cup.

"They've definitely got the players (to do it). They've been under the pump and still winning matches. So I'd say they are the team to beat," Keightley said.

Australian Associated Press