When India’s women’s cricket team last played a Test match against England, way back in 2014, Sudha Shah was the head coach of the side.
She still remembers how a rather young Indian team tamed England in its den, which was indeed a daunting task because there were eight debutants in the side. With Mithali Raj leading from the front, the touring side defeated mighty England by six wickets.
Seven years later, as Mithali’s team gears up for yet another Test outing against England – starting in Bristol from Wednesday – Shah believes the seniors will have to step up and guide the juniors.
“When we played England last time in 2014, we had only three players who had earlier played Test cricket, and there were eight debutants, but they played without any baggage. I think Mithali, Jhulan, Harman, and Smriti will play a big role in guiding these players this time,” Shah, who played 21 Tests and 13 ODIs for India between 1976 and 1991, told Sportstar.
Patience the key
While youngsters like Shafali Verma or Jemimah Rodrigues have stamped their class in the shorter format, they have never featured in the longer format. “In Tests, patience is the key. They have never played this format, so they will be in awe and I hope that they don’t let that sort of get over (sic). Jhulan and Mithali should be giving their inputs every now and then because that makes a huge difference,” Shah said.
In the latest episode of MatchPoint Paradox, Vijay Lokapally, Shayan Acharya and Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya discuss lineups for the WTC Final featuring New Zealand and India and also touch upon the one-off Test between India and England in Bristol starting June 16.
During its last international assignment against South Africa, India lost both the T20I and ODI series. As India witnessed a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, there couldn’t be any match practice. Shah admits that lack of practice could be a factor.
“The girls should just forget the South Africa series, because we have a lot of talent. If they can play to their potential, I am sure they can win against England. But lack of practice can be a factor because England has been playing a lot of cricket and they have had enough game time, whereas our girls haven’t. So, that can be a deterrent, but I hope it does not affect them,” Shah said.