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Mithali Raj backs young team to deliver goods

Indian women’s cricket captain hopes her young team will do well against England

Indian women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj exuded confidence of a good showing as she leads a young team on a tough tour of England. The Indian skipper said that it was a good opportunity for the youngsters to test their mettle in the longer format of the game.

Out of the 15-member team, only three – Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami and vice-captain Karuna Jain - have the experience of playing a Test match. But Mithali is not worried with her side’s inexperience and believes that the young side has the ability to upset the hosts.

Excerpts from the press conference:

On playing a Test match after a gap of eight years

I’m delighted that we are playing the longer format. We played a two-match Test series in 2006. Personally, I play more of one-dayers so I enjoy ODIs but the feeling of earning a Test cap and playing in whites is unmatched. I am sure that the youngsters in the side will cherish every moment and would want to make it memorable by doing well.

On the importance of multi-day format


If you want quality players to come up then the longer format is a must. We have come to know that there is a proposal for a two-day format in the domestic circuit for women’s cricket. It is a welcome move. If you are a good Test cricketer then you can switch to other formats easily.

On leading a young side to England

I know that Jhulan, Karuna and I are the only players who were part of the 2006 Test series in England but if you look at the squad then you will realize that we have players who have played ODIs in England. We were very close last time in 2012. We were leading 2-0 and went on to lose the ODI series. Beating England in their own backyard is not that easy and we want to achieve that.

On Jhulan Goswami

Her experience will come in handy for everyone in the team. I remember she took a five-for in the memorable win at Taunton in 2006. She is still quick.

On the preparations

We have had a seven-day camp at the NCA. We are pretty happy with the preparations. We have also played a two-day match against the KSCA Under-19 boys team.

Fixtures:

August 7-8: Warm-up match, Loughborough

August 13-16: 1st Test, Wormsley

August 19: 50-over warm-up match, Harrogate

August 21: 1st ODI, Scarborough

August 23: 2nd ODI, Scarborough

August 25: 3rd ODI, Lord's

India Women squad: Mithali Raj (capt), Karuna Jain, Smriti Mandhana, Thirush Kamini, Poonam Raut, Harmanpreet Kaur, Jhulan Goswami, Nagarajan Niranjana, Shubhlakshmi Sharma, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav, Swagatika Rath, Vellaswamy Vanitha, Sushma Verma; Sudha Shah (coach).

News

Report: Aus A vs Ind A, Final

Jadhav, Dhawan and Axar power India A to title win

India A overhauled Australia A’s total of 274 to win the Quadrangular One-Day series at Darwin on Saturday.

The Indian middle-order put up a great show once again with a collective performance to see the team home. Kedar Jadhav hit a majestic 78 while Rishi Dhawan and Axar Patel held their nerve during a counterattacking partnership of 93 in 12.3 overs for the seventh wicket to stun the home team.

India A had slumped to 51 for 3 before Jadhav and Manoj Tiwary came together to stitch a partnership against the run of play. However, the visitors again lost quick wickets and were 182 for 6 when Axar and Dhawan completed the chase with more than an over to spare.

Kane Richardson ran out Manan Vohra in the fourth over. Skipper Robin Uthappa’s dismissal in the fifth over with 26 runs on the board put India A on the backfoot.

Ambati Rayudu was adjudged leg before off Cutting for 7. Manoj Tiwary and Kedar Jadhav stitched an 82-run stand for the fourth wicket to get India back into the game. Tiwary went on to score his second half-century of the series before falling to Cutting.

Sanju Samson was run out by Cameron Boyce for 5, leaving India with 114 runs away from the target. Keeping India in the chase, Jadhav brought up his third consecutive half-century, but Hughes took a sharp catch to dismiss the batsman for 78.

Australia seemed to have the upper hand with India requiring 73 runs off the last ten overs with four wickets in hand, but Dhawan, who had been given two reprieves, made Australia pay and took the attack to the bowlers. Unbeaten on 56 off 55 balls, his partnership with Axar Patel (45 off 38 balls) took India home.

Earlier, opting to bat first, Phil Hughes and White added 146 for the opening stand. After an unbeaten double century and 58 in his previous two knocks, Hughes brought up another half-century though he didn’t last for too long thereafter. Not quite getting the hook shot right, he was caught by Rayudu off Dhawal Kulkarni for 51.

White continued his aggressive knock, sharing a 74-run stand with Alex Doolan to bring up his first century of the series, off 108 balls.

Overall, with the tournament coming to an end, Phil Hughes was the top-scorer with 332 runs, while Dhawal Kulkarni topped the bowling charts with 14 wickets from six matches. Mitchell Marsh was named the Player of the Series for his 11 wickets and 80 runs in the one-day series and 225 runs and three wickets in the four-day games.

Brief scores: Australia A 274 for 5 in 50 overs (Phil Hughes 51, Cameron White 137; Dhawal Kulkarni 3 for 51) lost to India A 275 for 6 in 48.4 overs (Manoj Tiwary 50, Kedar Jadhav 78, Rishi Dhawan 56*, Axar Patel 45*; Ben Cutting 3 for 46) by 4 wickets.