IND vs ENG: The first Twenty20 International of the three-match series will be played on December 6 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai between the Harmanpreet Kaur-led Indian team and the Heather Knight led England team.
The English captain, Heather Knight went so far as to say that their team’s preparation for the Women’s T20 World Cup 2024—which is slated to take place in Bangladesh—will be aided by playing in Mumbai. Knight thinks that their one-off Test and three T20I matches against India will be a great way to hone their young players.
On being asked what’s the last-minute feeling for a one-off Test vs India in India after the T20I series, she remarked, “It is going to be a huge challenge. I am really excited to play a Test match in India. It is one of the things on the bucket list that you want to do.”
“So, it is going to be a challenge and in terms of preparation, we are going to have a day off after back-to-back T20 games. And then, a two-day prep. So, it is going to be a pretty quick turnaround. But we talked about that.”
“We have done this before, an Ashes Test match at Canberra in 2022 where we had a two-day preparation. So, now it is just about getting your head right and knowing exactly how you are going to approach Test match cricket.”
“We do not know what kind of surface we will get at DY Patil. It was quite handy for the seamers, a bit more bounce for them in the WPL. So, playing a Test match in India will be fun.”
The most seasoned player in all of England’s formats, Heather Knight travelled to India with the team for an ODI series during the 2018–19 season. She appeared in the first Women’s Premier League in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai earlier this year, together with players like Nat Sciver-Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Sophia Dunkley, and Alice Capsey.
The second season of the WPL, which will begin after India’s multi-format series against Australia concludes in January, will undoubtedly feature some of England’s best players. Despite this, Heather Knight believes her players would learn a lot from the fervent Indian supporters there.
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She noted, “I always find like I learn a lot about my game playing in Indian conditions. It really tests you as a cricketer in terms of your skill level and how you deal with the noise, the heat and other things that seem to happen on India tours. So, I think it’s a really good place to accelerate development. So, I’m really excited to see how our younger players cope with it.”
IND vs ENG: “This tour is going to be invaluable in terms of potentially having similar conditions” – Heather Knight
Heather Knight claimed that being in these circumstances will help them when they compete in Bangladesh for the T20 World Cup.
“We’ve obviously got a T20 World Cup in Bangladesh later on in the year. So yeah, this tour is going to be invaluable in terms of potentially having similar conditions, obviously, to what we’re due to face in Bangladesh,” she added.
Heather Knight stated that she has talked with her players about what to anticipate on the tour and shared her knowledge of playing in Indian circumstances from her prior visit there with the WPL. The England captain mentioned that one of the things they will be concentrating on throughout this series is the boisterous home audience. They anticipate similar circumstances in Bangladesh because the people there are equally as fervent about their side.
“Yeah, we’ll certainly have a chat about it. I think sometimes you can feel like things are accelerating a bit rushed actually. When there’s a crowd, you feel like the game is happening quite quickly. So we’ve talked a lot about trying to get our own pace with the bat and ball, trying to sort of maintain our concentration in that moment and try and focus on what we’ve got to do. I think trying to silence the crowd will be tough,” she said.
Heather Knight stated that among other things, they are practising mutual communication despite the cacophonous din.
“I think watching the men’s World Cup as well, you see the support and the passion that Indian fans have for India and having experienced that, it’s a hard thing to do to silence the crowd. And even if there’s not many in, they’re usually very, very loud.”
“So yeah, it’s more just little things like making sure you can communicate on the pitch or around the noise. As captain, that’s a little bit trickier out here sometimes when there is that noise. But yeah, it’s an amazing challenge. You want to play in front of big crowds. The WPL was awesome. The support that there was for that competition was great, and hopefully, that continues into this series,” Heather Knight again said.
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Moreover, talking about the DRS protocol working in the England dressing room, she pounded, “We are really used to DRS. The bowlers and Amy Jones [wicketkeeper] are the real keys. This is the kind of thing where you have to show trust in your bowler and keeper to work it out.”
She further stated, “Wankhede Stadium is a lovely place to play. Lovely stadium and really excited to see the crowd in the stands. In the WPL, there was a good amount of support and hopefully, we can silence the crowd.”
On being asked whether they are thinking of starting the series as favourites, she clarified vividly, “India is a brilliant team. We had some good T20 games against them. In these playing conditions, they are going to be tough. I have got some experience of playing in India. So, that will be a bit valuable and, I think, it has to be a brilliant series between the two best teams in the world.”