Cricket

Indian women return to Test arena today

The Indian team celebrate their victory during Day Four of the Womens Test match between England and India at Wormsley Cricket Ground on August 16, 2014 in High Wycombe, England.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

A favourable record in England and “positive mindset” despite inadequate time for preparation will spur the Indian women’s cricket team when it takes on England in its first Test engagement in nearly seven years here from Wednesday.

After multiple quarantines in India and the U.K., the Mithali Raj-led squad got little over a week, that too only in the nets, to prepare for its first red-ball game since November 2014.

Mithali is among the seven current players who were part of that victorious eleven against South Africa in Mysuru.

Seventeen-year-old Shafali Verma is expected to open alongside Smriti Mandhana and make a big impact at the top of the order. The experienced trio of Mithali, Harmanpreet and Punam Raut follow.

On the bowling front, veteran pacers Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey will have to shake of the rust of the long hiatus. The spinners, who had a forgettable time at home in the limited-overs series against South Africa, will be itching to make amends.

The visitors can surely take heart from their record in England where they have not lost in eight games while winning two.

England’s star all-rounder and newly-appointed vice-captain Nat Sciver is among the six squad members who played in its last Test against India, back in August 2014.

The tourists had won that game in Wormsley by six wickets.

Though England is favourite to win the upcoming contest, Sciver expects India to play fearlessly.

“They’re an ever-growing side. There’s always new, young talent on the team who isn’t afraid to go out there and show what they’ve got. They seem to be more fearless than I’ve seen before,” Sciver said.

“Couple that with a lot of experience in the team — Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami — they can be a very difficult side to beat,” she said.

The squads:

India: Mithali Raj (Capt.), Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur (Vice-Capt.), Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Sneh Rana, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Indrani Roy, Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht and Radha Yadav.

England: Heather Knight (Capt.), Emily Arlott, Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Tash Farrant, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones, Nat Sciver (Vice-Capt.), Anya Shrubsole, Mady Villiers, Fran Wilson and Lauren Winfield-Hill.


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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 11:28:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/indian-women-return-to-test-arena-today/article34825001.ece

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