Test matches in the women’s game are few and far between the world over and the 38-year-old Mithali has played just 10 longest format matches in a career of 12 years so far. She last played a Test in 2014.
“I have played lesser Tests than ODI and T20, I would have liked more Test matches. I wouldn’t really get down to thinking whether my game has evolved in this format, but the preparation has been very similar,” Raj said at the match-eve virtual press conference.
💬💬 They should just enjoy playing this format. Ahead of the Test against England, #TeamIndia captain @M_Raj03 has… https://t.co/Cy8eOJuhTI
— BCCI Women (@BCCIWomen) 1623765013000
“And probably talking to many other cricketers, trying to get how they prepare for the longer format has helped me to prepare for this Test match,” said Mithali, without taking names of the cricketers, whom she had spoken to.
Raj said she would not want rookie players to be burdened with expectations and would advice them to enjoy the game.
“Well, we did brief them (players) about how the long format is played and clearly for someone who is making a debut, you don’t want to burden them with expectations and responsibility.
“So, it is just that I would brief together as a team, support them on the field and they should just enjoy playing this format,” the skipper added.
Raj also batted for having all three formats in a bilateral series going ahead, saying the away Tests against England and Australia are just the beginning. India will also play a Test, a day-night match, when they tour Australia later in the year.
“Yes, I feel that this Test match (against England) and even the pink-ball Test in Australia in the coming months, it is just the beginning of having a three-format bi-lateral series.
“It probably opens the channel to have another format added in the bilateral series and that clearly will help the overall standard of women’s cricket.”
She said any modern-day cricketer would want to play Test cricket because it is the format that really tests the skills of a player.
“We have one-day, T20s, so maybe in the coming years it might also lead to, say a World Test Championship, you never know.
“So, this is just the beginning, let’s hope that we continue to have the bilateral series where all three formats are there,” the right-handed batter said.
According to Raj, the batters and the bowlers tried to get as many sessions as they could to get used to the red-ball.
“We are looking forward to this Test match and series. Yes, 2017 was the last time we were (on) England soil. It was quite an experience for the team and most of them were part of the squad, so they got that exposure, experience.
“Also for the first time, we have points for the series, so clearly it is going to be an exciting series and that is what all of us are looking forward,” she signed off.