The four-day Test match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai will be the first Test Australia women’s team will be playing in India since 1984. With the men’s team playing this year’s Border-Gavaskar Trophy in India on spinning wickets, the expectation is there for the trend to follow suit for the one-off women’s Test match.
Australia are carrying four spinners in off-spin all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner, veteran left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen and leg-spinners Alan King and Georgia Wareham. Ashleigh had claimed figures of 12-165 during this year’s Women’s Ashes Test at Trent Bridge, which is also the second-best bowling figures in women’s Test history.
“I’m actually really intrigued to see what sort of wickets they prepare. I think we’ve got a really, really good spin attack, so do that at your own peril. Don’t get me wrong, the Indians have got a strong spin attack as well, but we’ve got some of the best leg-spinners in the world.”
“We’ve got Ash Gardner, who took nine wickets on English soil with the ball in hand, so prepare spinning wickets at your own demise. It will be interesting to see if they make it nice and flat, but I haven’t played at Wankhede since the IPL exhibition game a couple of years ago, so I’m excited for that experience,” said Alyssa to reporters.
A three-game ODI series at the same venue and a three-match T20I series at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai will also be played between India and Australia, with the visitors’ set to depart for Mumbai on December 13. With all-rounder Tahlia McGrath as the new vice-captain, Alyssa said her role as a leader will be to spearhead the growth of players who have leadership potential.
“Not just Tahlia, there’s a great group of leaders in our group that haven’t had the opportunities to lead a lot – especially in the domestic game, but also at the international level. That’s going to be a real key to how we drive things. It’s about finding the next leaders in Australian cricket.”
“There’s some outstanding ones that are quite senior in our group that are doing it quite consistently in domestic cricket and the WBBL. So it’s about finding that next rung of leaders and giving them the freedom to want to lead within our side as well, and encourage them to do so. That’s part of my role.”
Alyssa had been captaining Australia in the absence of the now-retired Meg Lanning over the last year and a half, including in this year’s Ashes in England. “What I’ve learned from Meg over her leadership is how resilient she is, and also her ability to just pick up all of the team, put them on her shoulders and go, ‘I’m going to go out there and win the game for my side’. That probably hasn’t always been the way that I’ve played my cricket, and it’s probably not been the way that I’ve led either.”
“But if I can find some sort of middle ground in that regard, and go, ‘You know what? It’s my time to go out there and win the game or play the innings or take the catch’, then I’m going to do that as a leader and hopefully show the others that we can do it,” she added on her learnings from seeing Meg as captain.
With a head coach in former skipper Shelly Nitschke and Tahlia as her deputy, Alyssa said Australia will now be moving towards preparing for two World Cups in coming two years – 2024 T20 World Cup in Bangladesh and 2025 ODI World Cup in India.
“We actually need to look long term and work towards World Cups and work towards big series and tournaments. Having a more permanent role and a bit more clarity around that, it gives all three of us an opportunity to stamp our mark and get the group to where we want to, to hopefully hold up a trophy next year in Bangladesh.”
–Ajit Weekly News
News Credits – I A N S