England captain Heather Knight (left)

SKIPPER Heather Knight is happy England have not to be branded favourites for this summer's Women's World Cup.

Knight, whose cricket journey started in Devon with Plymstock, is looking to end an eight-year wait by England for some international silverware.

England have not won a global trophy since completing the World Cup and World T20 double in 2009.

South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and India are all above England in the latest one-day ranking.

The one-two-three in the alternative ICC World Championship standings is Australia, England and New Zealand.

Knight, who also captains West Country women's super league side Western Storm, is excited about the prospect of leading her country at a first major tournament.

Playing in front of a sell-out final at Lord's is Knight's aim, not that she is taking anything for granted.

'Historically English fans have been the best supporters of women's cricket in the world,' said Knight.

'We had an event at Lord's recently and met some of our World Cup winners from 1973 and 1993.

'It would be lovely if 2017 can be a special year for us and we can reach that final, but there's a lot of cricket to play before then.

'There's the added pressure of a home World Cup but we've been trying to tap into a sense of togetherness, trying to have fun with our cricket and that's coming across in our performances.

'We may not go in as favourites but that will suit us.'

Coach Mark Robinson is backing England to make an impact on home soil.

The former Sussex coach took the team to the semi-finals of the 2015 T20 in Bangladesh, his first experience of tournament cricket,

Robinson expects more challengers, and more quality players, than ever before in the eight-team field and is eager to face the task head on.

'The women's game has had such good investment and the speed of change is enormous,' he said on the day that the fixture list was announced.

'I think you're going to see the best quality you've ever seen. There are some outstanding players and no easy games anymore. I think there used to be to a degree but not any more.

'That's good for women's cricket. It's not as easy for the coaches but really it's what we crave.

'We need games that are tough, we need to lose some games because that's how you learn and have a chance to respond.'

The tournament will get under way on Saturday, 24 June as 28 matches will be held over 21 days, including four weekends, meaning more opportunities for fans to attend

England open their campaign against India in Derby on June 24, with other group games at Leicester, Taunton and Bristol before the Lord's final on July 23.

Bristol is the venue for England's games against South Africa (July 5),Australia (July 9) and the West Indies (July 15).

Seven qualifying matches are planned for Bristol, followed by a semi-final on July 18.

Somerset host England's game against Sri Lanka on July 2. Six other matches will take place at Taunton between June 26 - Australia versus West Indies - and July 15 when South Africa face Australia.

Tickets for all matches can be purchased through www.icc-cricket.com/tickets