India captain Mithali Raj disclosed that the team had their first training session with the pink ball on Tuesday. She admitted that the experience of training with the pink ball was different as they are not used to seeing the pink ball often.
“The first training session that we had with the pink ball was yesterday. Yes, for everybody it was a little bit of a different experience because we are not so used to seeing a pink ball around. It does move quite a bit. I think that’s pretty much the first impression of playing with a pink ball,” said Mithali in a virtual media interaction on Wednesday.
Mithali added that the composition of the playing eleven ahead of the Indian women’s team first-ever pink-ball Test at Metricon Stadium was still undecided. “There is a fair amount of grass on the wicket and it’s a drop-in wicket. So, it will also be the first time we will be playing on the drop-in wickets. We are still yet to decide on the composition of the team. But looking at the wicket, pretty much everybody would want to go with a lot of seamers in the side.”
Mithali acknowledged that more exposure with the pink ball during the pre-series camp of two weeks in Bangalore would have been helpful. “We were preparing for the one-day series back home in the Bangalore camp, so it was more to do with the white ball. Of course, we tried and played a few games under the lights to get used to the day-night Test and the one-off game (second ODI) of the one-day series. The preparation was more of the one-day format in the camp. Yeah, if we could have got a little more time between the last one-day (third ODI) and the Test, it would have been quite helpful. But, again, I understand it was shortened because of Covid-19 protocols.”
Mithali, who is the most experienced Test player in the team with 11 Tests along with pacer Jhulan Goswami, backed for addition of first-class matches in the women’s domestic calender. First-class competition in women’s domestic calender have been absent after the 2017/18 season.
“Clearly, if the girls are to do well in this format, they have to have some sort of match experience in the domestic circuit. So, if this is going to be a regular, then probably, we will have another addition to our domestic calendar of playing days’ format.”
With India playing two Tests this year, Mithali believes that playing Test matches at home will be a good experience for other players in the team. The last time India played a Test at home was against South Africa in 2014 in Mysuru.
“Playing Tests at home would also be quite significant because we would have the advantage and the girls will also get an experience of playing a Test at home. Most of them have toured abroad, like most of the girls in the current squad have been a part of the 2014 Test in England and the last Test in England. So, I think most of them have played Test matches abroad, so it would be nice to have a Test even at home.”
The 38-year-old concluded by saying that it will be great for women’s cricket if Test matches become a regular fixture. “I think the most significant thing is that we had two Test matches this year. We played one in England and now we are playing against Australia from tomorrow. If this becomes a regular feature in a bilateral series, clearly women’s cricket, playing three formats will definitely help all players. I get this feedback most of the time, even today’s players who are a part of various leagues, they love to play the longer format. So, if it becomes a regular thing, it would be great for women’s cricket.”