Monday, June 17, 2024

IND W v ENG W: We will play aggressive cricket, says Harmanpreet Kaur as India hosts Test after nine years

They have not played much red-ball cricket and are coming into the four-day one-off Test match against England with only two days of preparations, but India Women’s team captain Harmanpreet Kaur said they will play aggressive cricket despite their limitations.

While India last played a Test match at home nine years ago and their last red-ball game was two years ago against Australia at the Carrara, Harmanpreet Kaur missed that match and thus will be making her debut as a captain.

Many of her teammates have not played multi-day cricket as the female cricketers don’t get to play red-ball cricket in the domestic circuit either. Thus red-ball cricket is an unknown commodity for many of them. Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and her deputy Smriti Mandhana are the only ones in the current squad who have played red-ball cricket at home.

However, despite all these facts, Harman said they would play aggressive cricket and go for a result.

“It’s all about the mindset. It is a big switch for us to straightaway play red-ball cricket after the T20I but we have discussed we will not change our batting style and play our natural game. My approach will be the same sort as in T20Is — attacking field placement, attacking, and bowling, but we will adapt according to the situation. We have discussed that we will have to take things as per session and we will try and win as many sessions as possible,” said the Indian skipper in her pre-match press conference at the DY Patil Stadium here on Thursday.

Harmanpreet said though her batters did not get many days to prepare for red-ball cricket, the bowling unit got a fortnight’s training.

“As a team, we aim to play good cricket. After the white-ball series, it will be challenging but the bowling unit got 10-15 days to prepare for red-ball. Positive cricket. Reading the mind. The ball has changed but the approach will remain the same,” she said.

Harmanpreet is also banking on individual players to put up their hand and lead the charge for India — as has happened in recent Test matches for them.

“We hardly got time to prepare, it is challenging but it is upon us to take the challenge on. Whenever we have played a Test in recent times, someone or the other has given a game-changing performance. The last time we played in India, we did well and won that match against South Africa. In England, Shafali’s batting and then Sneh Rana came and saved the game in the end. And then last time in Australia, Smriti’s hundred. Whenever we have played Test cricket, there have been exciting performances,” said the 34-year-old cricketer, who was the star performer when India defeated South Africa in Mysore in 2014, claiming nine wickets for 85 runs with her off-spin bowling.

Harman has good memories of that match.

“In that Test, I was the only off-spinner in the side, and my first wicket was off a full toss. Getting a first Test wicket via full toss was unexpected but then I bowled well, I bowled a good line and length and had a good rhythm. Now we have enough spinners that I won’t be needed with the ball,” said the India captain.

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