Test matches in the women's game are few and far between the world over and legendary Indian women's team captain Mithali Raj, who made her international debut back in 1999, has played just 10 longest format matches in a career of 12 years so far. She last played a Test in 2014 when India beat South Africa by an innings margin in Mysore. On Tuesday, ahead of the one-off Test against England in Bristol, Mithali said she took the advice of other cricketers to better prepare for the longest format ahead of the game.
"I have played lesser Tests than ODI and T20, I would have liked more Test matches. I wouldn't really get down to thinking whether my game is evolved in this format, but the preparation has been very similar, Raj said at the match-eve virtual press conference.
And probably talking to many other cricketers, trying to get how they prepare for the longer format has helped me to prepare for this Test match, said Mithali, without taking names of the cricketers, whom she had spoken to. Raj said she would not want rookie players to be burdened with expectations and would advice them to enjoy the game.
"Well, we did brief them (players) about how the long format is played and clearly for someone who is making a debut, you don't want to burden them with expectations and responsibility. So, it is just that I would brief together as a team, support them on the field and they should just enjoy playing this format, the skipper added.
Raj also batted for having all three formats in a bilateral series going ahead, saying the away Tests against England and Australia are just the beginning. India will also play a Test, a day-night match, when they tour Australia later in the year.
"Yes, I feel that this Test match (against England) and even the pink-ball Test in Australia in the coming months, it is just the beginning of having a three-format bi-lateral series.. It probably opens the channel to have another format added in the bilateral series and that clearly will help the overall standard of women's cricket."