Cricket

‘Players want to figure in longer format’

Battle-ready: Mithali Raj will have to draw on her vast experience in leading her young mates. File.   | Photo Credit: SUBRAHMANYAM V.V.

When Mithali Raj made her international debut, the second millennium hadn’t dawned yet. She was only 16 when she made an unbeaten 114 against England in an ODI at Milton Keynes to announce her arrival, in 1999.

More than two decades later, she is still the mainstay of the Indian women’s team, that takes on England in the one-off Test at Bristol from Wednesday. The captain sounded confident on the eve of the match.

She, however, isn’t thinking of the record that beckons India — most successive Test wins. India has won its last three Tests and no country has won four in a row.

“I am not looking at the record,” Mithali, who became the second woman to score 10,000 international runs three months ago, said at a virtual conference on Tuesday.

“For us, the first thing is to get out there in a confident frame of mind. Let us see how it goes from there,” she said.

Debutants

Since India’s last Test was played seven years ago, a few youngsters are bound to make their debut at Bristol. With hardly any red-ball cricket on India’s women’s domestic circuit, they could find the long format particularly challenging.

“You don’t want to burden them with expectations and responsibilities,” said Mithali. “As a team we would support them on the field and they should just enjoy playing this format.”

She hopes the current tour could be a new beginning as far as women’s Test cricket is concerned. “This — and the pink-ball Test in Australia later on — opens the channel to have a three-format bilateral series,” the skipper said.

“Cricketers still want to play the longer format. Because... that is the format that tests the skills of the players. Maybe in the coming years, it might also lead to a World Test championship.”

After making her Test debut in 2002, she has played only nine more. None of those Tests had attracted as much attention as the one that is about to get underway as it will be telecast live.


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Printable version | Aug 6, 2021 12:36:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/players-want-to-figure-in-longer-format/article34825054.ece

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