A favourable record in England and “positive mindset” despite inadequate preparation time will spur the Indian women’s cricket team when it takes on the seasoned hosts in its first Test engagement in nearly seven years here from Wednesday.After multiple quarantines in India and UK the Mithali raj led squad got little over a week to prepare for its first red ball game since November 2014.Mithali was among the seven current players, who were a part of that victorious eleven against South Africa in Mysuru.
While experienced players like the skipper, her deputyHarmanpreet Kaur Smirith Mandhana and Jhulan Goswami have not played red ball cricket at all in recent times, it will be an even tougher test for the younger lot who don’t get to play first-class matches in domestic cricket.
Unlike the men’s squad, which played intra-squad games in Southampton ahead of the WTC final, the women prepared only in the nets which might hurt them in the four-day game.
“The players are in good shape and have been training well but there is no substitute to match practice. Whether it is a one day game or a four-day game, you bat or bowl for the same time in the nets,” a BCCI source told PTI.
“Since it is a four day game, only time will tell if they are ready to stand in the field for longer periods or bowl multiple long spells. If you play a practice match, there is pressure. That same pressure is not there in the nets,” he added.
Harmanpreet has already conceded they got limited time to get ready for the one-off Test but said India go into the game “mentally prepared”, having got some valuable advice from men’s team vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane.