Ramesh Powar, head coach of the India women’s side, believes that it is practically not possible to be physically ready due to lack of preparation time, but feels that the defining factor will be the visitors’ mental make-up. Powar further stated that he and Mithali have made peace with each other.
India women are all set to play their first Test in seven years, but the Mithali Raj-led unit will be entering the contest with zero match-practice under their belt. The first Test in Bristol will commence on June 16, but the visitors landing in the UK less than a fortnight prior to the tour’s commencement means that they will have to do with just training sessions.
The tour, in fact, is set to be a long one, ending only on July 15, and newly-appointed head coach Ramesh Powar admitted that his side have been dished out an unforgiving schedule. But despite India set to enter the tour with no match practice, Powar claimed that mental toughness is what will be the defining factor in the tour for the visitors.
"It is not ideal. We are trying to look at the bright side," Powar said in a press conference on Tuesday.
"We are getting to play cricket - Tests, ODIs and T20Is. It's a long tour of 45 days. It is not physically possible to prepare. The mental makeup will make a difference."
2014 was the last time the Indian women played a Test match, but this year they are remarkably scheduled to play not one but two Tests, with the Mithali-led side also primed to play a pink-ball Test Down Under towards the fag end of the year. Knowing that most of the current crop of players are alien to long-format cricket, Powar insisted that it’s important to not demand too much from a young side that is still understanding the nuances of red-ball cricket.
"Obviously I want more Test games all over the world but again it's a good start. Let's take it step by step and don't push the girls into a zone where you're demanding too many things in Test cricket. It is a new format that has not been played consistently in the last 10 years. Let's wait and watch how they react. We might get surprises, they will perform better given the opportunity."
Three years ago, a public spat with skipper Mithali Raj resulted in Powar’s ousting from the Indian set-up, and once again the duo have now been united, thanks to the Mumbaikar taking charge for a second time. When asked about his strained relationship with the captain, Powar clarified that both the individuals have moved on from the incident and are currently only focused on achieving the common goal - to take Women’s cricket in the country to new heights.
"We interact well, otherwise, I would not have come back in women's cricket. Everyone grows up after three years, larger goals are in the picture,” Powar said.
"This is a great opportunity for me, Mithali and the whole group to take women's cricket to another level where BCCI is supporting us. We are professional enough. You all know me, I have been at NCA, I have been with Rahul Dravid, his effect will play in this series."