The feeling of déjà vu is strong ahead of India’s unique test match against England in Bristol this week. Seven years ago, at another site in the country, India faced the same opponent after an eight-year lull, with up to eight players making their test debuts. Led at the time by Mithali Raj, the current Test / ODI skipper, the Indians took a remarkable six-wicket victory.
Cut to 2021. Raj and a young team, most of whom are set to make their test debuts at Bristol, face England again, with barely a red ball practice and plenty of stakes.
Raj, who has only performed 10 tests in a career spanning more than two decades, is sticking to the positives.
READ: England vs India women’s test – Heather Knight: Would have preferred to play at a new wicket
“In competition I played fewer tests. I would have liked to have played more tests. I’m not going to wonder if my game has changed. My preparation has continued. Talking to other cricketers who have played this format helps prepare me for this test, ”she said, speaking to reporters ahead of the Bristol test.
Since this team mainly play white ball cricket and the narrow window between travel and play, the Indian coaching staff is more focused on the mental makeup of the team, especially the youngsters.
“We informed them about how the long format is played. For someone who is just starting out, we don’t want to put pressure or responsibility on him. He should like to play,” said Raj.
Communication is key to Head Coach Ramesh Powar’s plans. Vice Captain Harmanpreet Kaur was able to have a conversation with his male counterpart Ajinkya Rahane and Raj says these channels have also been facilitated internally.
“Ramesh got the seniors talking to other players who aren’t as experienced. Jhulan (Goswami) talks to the fast bowlers, I talk to the hitters,” she added.
“We can do our best in the nets, but it depends on the match situations. We are trying to adapt their mindset to red ball cricket. These are the preparations that we have in place.
Social officials from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) posted photos of the squad training in their whites on match day. Raj reveals that this was also part of a simulation session.
“There were a couple of white sessions so the girls didn’t feel any embarrassment going out onto the pitch (wearing the new white jerseys) on Wednesday. There were four or five sessions where we trained in white so it didn’t seem no stranger to girls, ”she added.
Before the team left for England, the Indian skipper was seen donning the leg warmers. She had said then that it was to get used to wearing them for long parts of the day and getting used to having them long for long periods.
The Indian women’s team returns to England – four years after a historic campaign of 50 World Cup victories in 2017, where India finished second. Ask Raj if this has ever crossed her mind as she goes about her business in England and she hastens to add that there is only one way to look and that is towards the ‘before.
“I don’t want to look back just yet. I’m looking forward to the series. 2017 was the last time we were here and it was quite an experience. Most of these players are in the squad. I said, it’s good to have three formats in the bilateral series. We also have points, so it’s going to be exciting and we are looking forward to it. “
Earlier, England captain Heather Knight pointed out that the field the women had to play on was not fresh, having been used in a men’s Vitality Blast match in Gloucestershire last week. Requests to rework the pitch were unsuccessful due to lack of time.
When asked if this could work to India’s advantage and help the spinners, Raj said, “We’re here to play a game and get a result from whatever strip we get. adjust our game plan accordingly. “