‘Continuity in Test cricket will be great’

Sometimes it’s nice to go in without a baggage, you just play and enjoy the atmosphere, says Mithali

With India women set to play two Tests in three months, that too away from home, after a seven-year drought, the focus will definitely be on the traditional format as Mithali Raj’s side embarks on a full tour of England. Captain Mithali stressed that playing Test cricket will be a big step forward for the younger lot that’s been focusing on limited-over cricket.

“It’s good to have Tests, whether it’s home or away. If there’s continuity, it’s great because it helps players as well. Sometimes it’s nice to go in without a baggage, you just go in, play and enjoy the atmosphere,” Mithali said during a media interaction ahead of leaving for the tour that will comprise a Test, three ODIs and three T20Is in England. The women’s and men’s squads together will leave in the wee hours of Wednesday.

“It’s good to have the girls who are playing for the first time and the girls who have played in the past and share their experiences how it was back in 2014. But having back-to-back Test matches can give a lot of exposure to the current lot.”

Recently-appointed head coach Ramesh Powar, albeit ironically, referred to the conventional format as “new” for the youngsters but hoped that the forthcoming Tests in England and Australia (in September) will reinvigorate interest in women’s Tests.

Step by step

“It’s a great start. As a coach I want more Tests all over the world. It’s a good start and let’s take it step by step. Don’t push the girls into a zone where you are demanding too much. It’s a new format which hasn’t been played consistently over the past few years. You might get surprises.”

Powar’s reappointment last month had raised eyebrows considering he and Mithali had had a public fall-out during his short stint as coach in 2018. While Mithali urged everyone to “move on” from the episode and “look forward”, Powar stressed they are not going back to the episode.

“I would like to stop the speculation that is happening. We interacted well. Otherwise I wouldn’t have come back into women’s cricket. Everyone grows up in three years,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for me, Mithali and for the whole group to take women’s cricket to another level when BCCI is supporting us. I don’t think we’re going to go back to these small things.”

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