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England Women's Tour Of India 2023: Test Cricket Returns To India After Nine-Year Hiatus, Harmanpreet Kaur & Co. Ready For Challenge

Harmanpreet Kaur took nine wickets in the last Test match that India played against South Africa in Mysuru in 2014. She will be leading the side for the first time in Test cricket against England on Thursday

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Harmanpreet Kaur discusses a point with teammates
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India Women's cricket team are ready to play  England Women's team in the only Test match of the England women's tour of India in 2023. After winning the T20I series by 2-1, the England team will now move to DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai to play the solo Test match starting on Thursday. (Cricket News)

The Test match between India and England have so many aspects. This is the first women's Test match on Indian soil after nine years. India won by an innings and 34 runs when they last played on home soil against South Africa in Mysuru in 2014. The last Test match that the Indian team played was against Australia in Carrara. It was the first and only pink-ball Test match of the Indian women's team. The match was drawn.

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Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, who will be making her captaincy debut in the longest format stated the challenges of the Test cricket before the start of the series. The unavailability of Test cricket matches in the domestic circuit and the packed schedule are a few challenges that players often face.

"The challenge for us is that we haven't played with the red ball. We have been playing with the white ball for so many years. "Even in domestic cricket also, we don't have red-ball cricket back home. So the challenge for us is to make yourself ready in such a short time", the captain said.

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Vice-captain Smriti Mandhana last played in a Test match against Australia in Carrara. She also made a century in the match that led to a draw. She was very excited for the England Test in Navi Mumbai when asked about that.

“Definitely very excited to be playing a home Test. A lot of things have changed for women's cricket, particularly post-2017. We could see that change at Wankhede when we played the T20Is...the kind of crowds that came in, and the support we are getting. Women's cricket is on the rise. We are really excited to be wearing whites again on home soil. It's a different feeling altogether,” Mandhana said on Tuesday.

She also emphasised on mental and physical aspects of playing a Test match. “It requires both the mental and physical aspects. Our bodies are not used to playing four back-to-back days of cricket. We generally play T20s and ODIs a lot more. Trying to focus on each and every ball for four days requires a lot of mental preparation. Hopefully, we can execute whatever we have thought about and play the way the Test format requires us to play,” said Mandhana.

When asked about the Women's World Test Championship prospects in the future, she said she would love to be a part of that but that is on the cricket boards to decide and as a player, they don't have any say in that.

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 “I would love to be a part of the World Test Championship but that is for the boards and the ICC to decide,” she said. “Having watched a lot of men’s Test cricket and championships, it would be exciting to be a part of something of that sort. But as I said, that would be the administrators' decision.”

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