India Women’s Test vice captain and T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur revealed that men’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane shared his experiences with the women’s batting group ahead of their one-off Test match against England. The India Women team will be playing a Test for the first time since 2014 when they take on England in Bristol from June 16.
The batting group has plenty of fresh faces like Jemimah Rodrigues and Shafali Verma, and Rahane had a friendly chat to share his experience.
“Even I have not played too many red ball matches. As a batting group, we have been preparing well," Harmanpreet said in a press conference. “This time we have got a chance to talk to Ajinkya Rahane as well, he shared with us his experience about the conditions and how to divide an innings. That was a friendly talk we had with him. He has played a lot of Test cricket and has a lot of experience to share.
“Even in the nets, we try to stay in a good frame of mind and play good cricket. Other than thinking too much about batting, we discuss to stick to our strengths.
“End of the day, as a batter, the approach is to see the ball and react to it. I don’t have much experience in Tests, but I know it’s a patience game. I have to spend time in the crease. For me and the others, the approach is to react to the ball.
“Red ball is totally different scenario. As a player, it’s important to get used to conditions. We didn’t get any domestic games with red ball, but in the upcoming years, we will get more red ball cricket which is a very good sign for us.
“We have tried to prepare the best with the time available. We didn’t get practice games, but as a player, we have tried to adapt best to the situation. The wickets are different from India, the ball will swing and we’re practising in the nets."
Harmanpreet said it would not be possible to discuss the playing XI without even having a look at the Bristol pitch, but hoped Shafali Verma will be a part of it. She also banked on Jhulan Goswami to provide the breakthroughs with the ball.
“I hope Shafali gets a chance, because she is someone who can dominate. I wouldn’t like to see her change her approach. She’s just 17, you don’t want to put too many thoughts on her. We just have to try and create a good situation for her to enjoy the game. If she gets a chance to play, she’ll do well."
“Jhulan is someone who always takes the lead. She’s always special for us, gives us breakthroughs when we need. All the bowlers are very important, in Tests you need breakthroughs. I think she will be fantastic in this match also."
Harmanpreet also lauded coach Ramesh Powar, saying he has stayed the same as the last time he was a part of the India side, in 2018.
“Ramesh Powar has been the same as last time. He is fully involved, when you talk to him, you feel like you’re playing a match. He talks about planning, how you react. I always get a lot of information from him by talking to him."
Finally, Harmanpreet was full of praise for all the India Women cricketers of the past, without whom the game would not be where it is today.
“To build a team, we need to know its history. Unfortunately, we don’t know much about women’s cricket history in India because there wasn’t much media coverage. Our support staff did a lot of searching and shared it with us. How they struggled back then, how they got women’s cricket to this level. Seeing all that, I felt how fortunate we are. The respect for them has increased, because if they had given up then, we wouldn’t be sitting here. We are very thankful to them."