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Mithali Raj

Mithali Raj “confident” in India’s preparation ahead of Australia tour

India Women's News

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Indian captain Mithali Raj believes her team's tour of England and further preparation at home bodes well for a solid outing in Australia and the World Cup in New Zealand.

Speaking to the press ahead of their departure, Raj and Head Coach Ramesh Powar discussed the team's training camp in Bangalore, and outlined the goals set out for India's stint overseas.

Playing in their first-ever day-night Test match, the Indian side will also take on Australia in three one day internationals and three T20Is. A points-based system will be used to decide the winner of the multi-format series.

Tinkering their plans before departure, India's 30-player training group played intra-squad matches under lights, creating similar in-match scenarios to the ones they will experience in Australia. While Raj admits there will be a number of firsts on the tour, the skipper praised the flexibility of her playing group, and believes her team will adapt to conditions.

“We know we are playing against the best side in the world,” Raj said. “But we are confident in the sort of preparation we managed to have here in India.”

A win in the Test match against Australia will secure four points in the series, with wins in the ODIs and T20Is worth two each. Rescuing a draw during their series with England, also in tough foreign conditions, Raj acknowledges the added outside attention towards Test cricket, but reiterates that winning individual battles during key moments is paramount, irrespective of the format or state of the game.

“It is going to be big because most of the questions are revolving around the pink ball, then the one day cricket and the T20 cricket.”

“We don’t go in with a set mindset, it’s all about how we apply ourselves according to the situation present at that moment.”

“The Test match in Australia will be slightly different because we are playing with a pink ball and under lights. That’s a very different experience for all of us.”

Powar shared the sentiments of Raj in regards to the team's adaptability, and emphasised the importance of India's overall goals - to win the series and make strides towards the 2022 Women's Cricket World Cup in New Zealand.

“We are going to play three ODIs first and the World Cup going forward is a very important tournament for us, and we are focusing right now on the World Cup preparation."

“At the end of it, it is a game of bat and ball, so we don’t want to put pressure on the team, where we have to prepare differently for every format, we back our players in that particular format, they’re good enough to react to the situation.”

India will begin with a tour match on September 17, with the first ODI in Sydney on September 19. For Raj, playing against the world No.1 team in Australia in both the MRF Tyres Women's ODI and T20I rankings will be the ideal battle-hardening experience for her team.

“Australia is going to be a tough and a good tour for us before the World Cup because we are playing against the best, so we'll know where we stand."

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