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'Just the Beginning' - Mithali Raj Says Women's Cricket Could Have a World Test Championship Too

Mithali Raj.

Mithali Raj.

Ahead of India Women's Test match against England in Bristol starting Wednesday, captain Mithali Raj welcomed the addition of the longer format to the bilateral series

Ahead of India Women’s Test match against England in Bristol starting Wednesday, captain Mithali Raj welcomed the addition of the longer format to the bilateral series, hoping this could even be the start of a World Test Championship in women’s cricket. India Women last played a Test in 2014, against South Africa in Mysore.

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“I feel that this Test match and the one in Australia is a beginning of having a three format bilateral series. It opens channels for another format in a bilateral series, it increases standard of women’s cricket. All cricketers want to play the longer format, it’s good to have it," Mithali said in a press conference.

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“Maybe in the coming years, it might also lead to a World Test Championship. You never know, this is just the beginning."

Mithali spoke about the preparation, revealing that the players practised in white uniform so that they don’t feel it to be alien in the actual match.

“We did brief them (youngsters) about how this format is played. You don’t want to burden the debutants with expectations, the team will support them on the field. They should just enjoy the format.

“One thing is that, there were a few sessions we have in whites so that the girls don’t overwhelmed walking in whites into the ground for the first time. We tried getting the feel to the net session so that it doesn’t feel alien to the girls.

“He (Ramesh Powar, the coach) got seniors to speak to the juniors who have lesser experience. Such communication helps the team prepare for the Test.

“From the last Test, it’s been 7 years. It has been all white ball cricket, and all players have faced the white ball. It comes down to the mindset. We’ve tried to get in as many red ball sessions as we can in the last week. At the end of the day, it’s the mindset that matters. It would be wrong to say it won’t be challenging."

The skipper hoped the players would be able to adjust to situations on the ground.

“We can do our best preparation in the nets, but at the ground, it’s down to the situation. Players will respond accordingly. It’s just that we’re trying to get their mindset tuned to red ball. What are the variations the bowlers can do, what mindset the batters should have. These are the preparations that we have put in."

Mithali’s career started in 1999, but this will be only her 11th Test.

“I’ve played lesser Tests than ODIs/T20s. I’d have liked to have more Tests, but nevertheless, getting these Tests… it goes down to preparation. The preparation has been similar. Talking to other cricketers who have played the format has helped me prepare for this Test match."

She was also happy with the growth of women’s cricket since their last Test, stressing on the importance of telecasting the matches.

“In terms of marketing the sport, I think it’s great to have a Test live on TV. Now with pandemic, a lot of people will be watching the game on TV. For us players, it’s very important. In 2014, there wasn’t much (interest) but the team didn’t care about that. The players gave their best standard, if it’s covered live, nothing like it. Because that’s how the sport will grow."

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first published:June 15, 2021, 16:59 IST