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Have confidence in our abilities: Mithali

Mumbai: Offered a chance to play a four-day Test after eight years, Indian women’s cricket captain Mithali Raj welcomed it and said the younger lot in the squad would benefit a lot from playing the longer version of the game.

She also said it would be a big challenge and a huge achievement if the team got the better of the more experienced hosts in their backyard in the one-off Test and the three ODIs that will follow in the tour.

“Only three of us — myself, Jhulan (Goswami) and Karuna Jain — had played the last Test in 2006. I feel it’s easier to adapt by playing the longer version of the game. Our team is inexperienced in Tests, but experienced in ODIs. The younger players would benefit.

“It’s a big challenge and beating England in England will be a huge achievement for the team. The last time we went there (in 2012), we came close to winning it, but lost the series despite taking a 2-0 lead… We have confidence in our abilities,” said Mithali before the squad’s departure for England.

The team is scheduled to play a two-day warm-up game, on August 7 and 8 at Loughborough, Haslegrave, ahead of the one-off Test from August 13 to 16.

The team will also play a warm-up one day game (August 19, Harrogate CC) before the three-match ODI series scheduled on August 21, 23 (both at Scarborough CC) and August 25 (Lord’s).

Asked whether BCCI should arrange more Test matches, the 31-year-old Mithali said: “We want to play more matches… That’s all, whether it’s Tests, ODIs or T20s.”

The Indian women’s last international appearance was during the World T20 in Bangladesh, played along with the men’s event, in March and prior to that, they had played three ODIs and as many T20s against Sri Lanka at home last season.

THE SQUAD

Mithali Raj (captain), Karuna Jain, Smriti Mandhana, MD Thirushkamini, Punam Raut, Harmanpreet Kaur, Jhulan Goswami, N. Niranjana, Shubhlakshmi Sharma, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav, Swagathika Rath, VR Vanitha, Sushma Verma