FOUR FRESH AND FIT NEED TO TICK 20 BOXES

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LONG TIME AWAY FROM THE RED BALL GAME INDIAN WOMEN ARE ALL SET TO TAKE ON ENGLAND STARTING ON THE 16TH OF JUNE AT BRISTOL.

Indian women’s team last played test cricket back in 2014, 2 test victories but the next opportunity has come 6 years down the line is shocking. Looking forward there are reasons to celebrate with many more to come. The women’s team have played a lot of white ball cricket and the fruitful journey will now reflect on the red ball game.

The Indian women’s team will be taking on the field nearly 3 months post the disappointing South African home series. On this English tour the selection committee have backed familiar faces who were dropped for the home series and that’s a big plus going into the series with the best available team.

Opening is the key, be it any format of play and that set’s the tune for the middle order. Smriti Mandana holds experience and the 2014 red ball success as well. She will have a new partner in Shafali or Jemimah. Selectors will have a good headache to pick the opening pair with a few available options. Won’t be surprising if there is an extra batter to play in 3 openers and go with four bowling options. With not a lot of cricket played in recent time the women are fresh and fit that provides a window to consider playing an extra batter at the top to cover if there’s an early fall.

The middle order of the team has been the strength with likes of Punam Raut, Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet kaur. Years of international cricket experience and also the experiences from the 2014 test series where the middle order was same adds up. Girls then are now women who can promise a lot more than before.

Couple of wicket keeping options. Taniya on her comeback tour and Indrani Roy who has had her maiden call to join the international camp. Wicket keeping is a key factor when keeping overseas and Taniya will hold the upper hand in selection being the experienced contender plus her excellent defensive technique counts and she’s had a fair number of games as opener giving her the ability to see off the second new ball as well which could be a huge bonus. Indrani has had a good run in the domestic season but as an opener so, that slightly would keep her as the second option.

All rounder Deepti Sharma will have a key role of holding an end being the only spinner probably if the team decides to go with three pacers. Else, she would have a spin twin to help her from the other end. Will be an intresting pick by selectors of the attack they prefer.

The bowling attack lead by Jhulan Goswami is pure power battery and has lead India to many victories. It’s been a same set of women who have been managing the bowling for a good time so, there’s a fine understanding of roles. Shikha Pandey is back after being dropped from the SA home series. The pair is back and they’ll look to hunt as a pair. Third pacer, very likely in English conditions unless there’s a lot in offer for a spinner.

The weather not very promising for the four day women’s test but there is a good warm Day 1 to start off and there might be enough overs for the remaining 3 days with an extended hour of play that the officials might add-on.

To sum it up, it’s a strong squad that will take field for a red ball game. The Test staring on the 16th of June will go on for 4 days till the 19th of June and there will be enough key battles during this one-off test match to be played between two of the best cricketing nations.

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