Indian women focus on mindset, practice in whites to calm nerves (Ld)

Indian women’s Test captain Mithali Raj on Tuesday stressed on the importance of mind-set and revealed that players, especially youngsters, have been practicing here in the whites to calm nerves for the one-off Test against England starting here on Wednesday.

“There were a few sessions that we tried to have in the whites so that the girls don’t get sort of jolted when they walk onto the ground tomorrow in the whites because for most of them it was their first time getting into the whites and getting onto the ground,” Mithali told the media.

“That is one thing that he [coach Ramesh Powar] tried to get into the sessions — four-five sessions where we trained together as a team in whites,” she said.

The Indian women are playing a Test match for the first time in seven years. The last time they played was in November 2014, when they beat South Africa in Mysore. Three months prior to that, they had beaten England in a Test in Wormsley.

“Clearly from the last Test it has been seven years and seven years have been more of the white ball game and a lot more players in the side have faced [only] the white ball. But again, it comes down to the mind-set,” said Mithali.

“Last week or so, we have tried to get as many sessions as we can for the batters and bowlers to face and get used to the red ball and the movement. At the end day, the mind-set with which you play is what matters.”

Once again, the Indian women will play two Tests in a year. After this Test, they will tour Australia in September-October for the pink-ball Test.

Also, this is the first time the Indian women are playing a full series against England.

“I feel that the Test match and the pink ball Test, which is in Australia in the coming months, it is just the beginning of three-format bilateral series. It probably opens the channel to have formats added in bilateral series and that clearly will help the overall standard of women’s cricket and also players,” said Mithali.

“Any modern-day cricketer wants to play longer format because that is the format that tests the skills of the players. It is good to have Test match and the series. Maybe in the coming years it might also lead to World Test championship. Let’s hope we continue to have bilateral series in all three formats.”

India could field 17-year-old youngster Shafali Verma, who is yet to play an ODI or a Test.

Mithali said they haven’t decided on the playing XI yet, though she added that the team is ensuring they want youngsters to take it easy.

“We did brief them on how this long format is played. Clearly, with someone who is making his debut, you don’t want to burden them with expectations and rsponsibilities. So, it is just that together we would support them on the field and they should just enjoy playing this format,” she said.