Much has changed in women’s cricket since Harmanpreet Kaur played her last Test, way back in 2014. Her own masterpiece, 171 not out off 115 balls in the World Cup semifinal against Australia in England three years later, would play a big role in transforming the women’s game in India.
Over the next few days though, Harmanpreet and her teammates’ focus would be on the red ball, as India gets ready to take on England in the one-off Test at Bristol, starting on Wednesday. Her last, and second, Test, against South Africa at Mysuru, was also India’s last.
The visitors would go into the Test match without much practice. “But as players we need to adapt,” the India vice-captain said at a virtual press conference on Monday, after arriving at Bristol following a quarantine at Southampton.
Harmanpreet and other batters got some very useful tips on how to bat in Tests from Ajinkya Rahane, the man who knows a thing or two about playing long innings. .
“We got a chance to speak to Rahane, who has a lot of experience in Tests,” she said. “He told us about how to bat and what should be our approach in long-form cricket. He told us how to divide an innings into five-minute periods.”
She said the team was trying to make the best out of the short time got for preparing for the Test match. “The wickets here are totally different from those in India,” she said. “The ball swings here and we have been practising for that at the nets.”
Harmanpreet said the team was expecting a lot from the bowling spearhead Jhulan Goswami, who had a lot of success in the previous Tests she played in England.
“Jhulan has always been someone who leads (from the front) when we are in the field,” she said. “She is special for us and always gives breakthroughs whenever we need…I hope she will be fantastic in this match also.”
Though only few of India’s women cricketers have had the experience of playing with the red ball, Harmanrpeet expressed hopes for the future.
“It is a totally different scenario when you play red-ball cricket,” she said. “As a player it is important to get used to conditions. We don’t even get any domestic games with the red ball but (I hope) in the upcoming seasons and years we will get more red-ball cricket, which will be very good for us.”