India Vice-captain Smriti Mandhana previews Test Match against England

In Navi Mumbai, at a press conference, Smriti Mandhana, the esteemed Vice-captain of the Indian Cricket Team, articulated her perspectives and anticipations for the upcoming solitary Test match against England in the IDFC First Bank series. Mandhana, known for her strategic insights and leadership skills, provided an in-depth analysis of the team’s preparations and strategies for this crucial encounter.

Smriti Mandhana previews Test Match against England

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Reporter: Hello everyone. We are with us, our vice-captain. Mr. Manana. To start the press conference before we start the individual, please keep silent and move. First, testing India. A lot of things have changed since then. And you, how do you see this? How excited are you gonna be?

Smriti Mandhana: I think very excited. We played last, I think in 2014, 2014 or 16, 14, 14 Back, back in I think, Mao, against South Africa. And like a lot of things have changed for women’s cricket, I think, especially post-2017 after that phase.

And, we could see that change also at one Kade when we are playing, the T 20, the kind of crowds which have come and the kind of support we are getting. Plus the, of course, the thing you mentioned, the peak quality and all of those things. Women’s cricket is on the rise.

So, more than that I think excited to wear whites again, at home soil, and go out there and, represent India in whites. I think it’s a different feeling altogether.

Reporter: You century last It was just two years back. Sure, I’ll take It. All the players or even the support, the coaches talk about the shift in the format. Like they throw in two words, mental and physical as a player.

Can you tell us what it takes for you to like to play a test match, which is not a regular occurrence at the international level or level, how you like, to go into a game of preparation, and what you do physically?

Smriti Mandhana: I think, it requires both aspects, mental and physical because, our bodies are not used to playing four back-to-back days of, cricket because we generally play T 20 and one day is a lot more, which has gaps.

But I think playing two back-to-back T 20 was, something which we are all already getting mentally prepared for because I think, more than the physical part being four days mentally they’re active, trying to focus every ball and especially I think the way you bat as well, will change a lot. So definitely a lot of mental preparation.

That’s why we had a small meeting now before, the practice begins. I think, this is our first practice session as a team together for the test match. We’ve had a few of them before, coming into, coming into the series as, as a group at Bangalore or somehow, but I think this is the one in which we all are together for the test match.

So definitely it starts from today with the mental prep preparation and the physical preparation. So hopefully we can execute whatever we’ve thought about and play the way test format needs us to play.

And both, I think, talking about your preparation, you had a few camps and some players who also red series. So can you unpack and face how it has been for you guys and how difficult would it be to switch between white and red with just such a short camp?

Smriti Mandhana: I think, we did have one practice match. I think all the girls that were, part of it, I think, I was not able to play because of a little, little bit of physical issue. But otherwise, I think we had, a good practice test match.

For four days I was there to watch it in Bangalore, India versus India. That was a good prep, to get the girls into the habit of, playing test ball cricket. And then we had a few days in Bangalore, a few three days I think before girls left for the zones. So we focused on both the white ball and the red ball.

And then of course our test match players, who were not in the T 20 squad, were also in Mumbai practicing on their own about, how, like what, what are the plans to execute on the test match. And as I said, I think today is gonna be important today and tomorrow, and I don’t think it’s, if you, I think mentally prepare yourself, I don’t think it’s a big change because, just about applying yourself the bad thing’s.

Not like I’m gonna change a lot of techniques or, I’m gonna just change a lot of things while working on my technique. It’s just about that mental shift of patience more than anything that, you have to apply yourself and play, play, play to the demand of that phase. I think that will be crucial.

Smriti Mandhana: Definitely, these two days are going to be crucial for us.

Reporter: Hello. Also, you’re one of the senior-most players, if we can say this.

Smriti Mandhana: The four test matches have made me a senior player. As an opening bat, the game plan is always to see off the new ball, play to the situation, whatever the team demands, and whatever the situation is.

The batting will change depending on the situation first in the second innings. For the youngsters, whoever’s come in, who’s going to maybe debut, or who’s going to play maybe their first or second match, I think for them, whenever we can chip in or say, and I think we have an experienced coach in terms of a mozer.

He’s played so much of Ranji Trophy cricket and he’s used to playing a lot of four-day stuff. He has a lot more experience in Red Ball cricket than two or three of us. A lot of girls are approaching him and asking how his mindset was. If they come around us as well, we’ll always be ready to help in terms of whatever is needed. That’s the only thing we can do. Otherwise, it’s just about applying the application on that day.

Reporter: Is it that easy or how tough is it to shift the purpose from remote?

Smriti Mandhana: If you think about it a lot, it can be hard, and if you keep it simple, it can be easy too. It depends on how you are going to take it. We all are thinking about that’s what we discussed. It’s a red ball and a white ball change.

It’s not like we have to stress about it a lot that it’s going to do so much or it’s going to happen now. We have to, go into a shell and play a certain sort. Definitely, the area shots that we played in T20s might not be the same, or maybe we’ll have to leave a few balls, but as I said, it’s all about application, so I don’t think we’ll stress a lot on that fact that it’s going to be a lot of like, it’ll be really hard or something of that sort.

We’ll be positive about it that we have to go out there, and play our own game. Everyone bats separately. Everyone has their way of batting. So I think we’ll just keep it simple in that respect. As somebody who likes to play shots, what precautions do you have to take when it comes to the red ball game?

Reporter: What precautions do you have to take when it comes to the red ball game?

Smriti Mandhana: If you think about a lot of precautions, you’re complicating a lot of things for yourself. Whatever test matches I have played, I’ve just kept it, we’ve just told ourselves to just watch the ball and play. Aerial shots can come whenever it is needed, but it’s not like how we play in T20. Maybe the third or fourth ball is an aerial shot.

Reporter: That’s the only thing which we kind of have to tell ourselves or, and if someone has their AAL shots as their first thing, I think that that’s their way of playing. Maybe, attack can be the best form of defense as well. So it depends on the way they want to play or they, it’s, it’s, again, I think depends how Ali bats and I bat, it’s different, but you can’t expect both of us to bat in one particular mold.

Smriti Mandhana: So, as I said, I think when, whenever I’ve played a test match, it’s always been after a white ball series or just in between white ball series. It’s just whatever we’ve thought is just what the goal and react, not to stress a lot about what it’s gonna do.

Definitely, in two days we’ll understand what sort of a backswing we want to get in or how we play. Otherwise, I don’t think we’ll stress that a lot. ‘Cause often said that the players get aerial shots and they say this is how he plays, this is the way he plays. So they can do that.

Reporter: But then are you thinking about that kind of, along those times also?

Smriti Mandhana: Definitely. We won’t think of getting out. We’ll think that even if she plays an aerial shot, he’ll go for six. So that’s what we’ll try and think, because thinking before the match that, this will happen or that will happen. I think that doesn’t really, put a team in a good place. I think, just giving them kind of freedom in the way they want to play.

And everyone has their responsibilities. Everyone has played a good amount of international level, be it wide ball. So, I’m sure that everyone knows their responsibility and will play according to their strength, but responsibly.

Reporter: Last few questions. So the last time you played occasion team from that team, you players who are, so first of all, what are the memories of that test match and, looking predicts like cricket test, test, do you think that the, a sense of

Smriti Mandhana: Match my memory of that test match is watching thi kamini and Pun Rock play one and a half days from the outside. And it was a brilliant inning from both of them. And I think Hermann was bowling more back then a lot, and I think I don’t, I, so, so, so yeah, how much my memory says that is the memory of the last test match, which we played here. I think that was a draw, right?

Oh, sorry, we won the match. Sorry, please cut this part. We won that test match. So, that’s, that’s what I think, those are nice moments. I think we enjoyed, going out there playing a test match on home soil. Also, the ones which we were in England and Australia, definitely those were really, good moments for us in terms of playing test matches after a long time.

And again, I think, more than I think, this test match we play I think two test matches in 15 days. I think that’s happened, for us as a team, I think, I don’t think it’s ever happened, at least from the time I have been part of the team. So that’s really exciting times for us and hopefully, we can get a lot more of this. The WBL option just happened and our CB has brought the services of Gate Cross. So like what are your thoughts on,

Reporter: I think let’s focus on white and test world cricket. Well, have a lot of time for WBL to come, and we’ll have a chat about it later, but now I think the only focus is the Indian team, the test matches that we have, and the Red World stuff

Smriti Mandhana: You played a different format, but still, what was the takeaway for you and the team, from that season? How do you think it’ll gonna help you in this process?

Reporter: Yeah, a lot of takeaways. That was a different team. It was a pretty young team for us. But yeah, I think, a lot of takeaways in terms of learnings, how we could, maybe how we applied ourselves in the third T 20, maybe we could have done from the first G 20 would’ve been a different result.

Reporter: But, I think a lot of positives as well from that. And we look at the way I think the 30 20 we thought about it, that this is going to be important. We just can’t think that it’s like they’ve already won the series, but that winning that T-20 would get us into momentum in terms of getting in the test. So, that is a big takeaway for us.

That gives a lot of confidence in the dressing room, that we had the last match, which we played, we won. And definitely, a lot of takeaways and learnings from the T 20 series. And I’m sure, we’ll be able to apply that when we play against Australia next T 20 series.

But I don’t think we have to stress a lot on that because this is an extremely different format. Last question. What would your message be to the test match? Second question, what would stand the Bay forward for bringing more test matches?

Smriti Mandhana: Well, I think the second question is really good. I would love to be part of a world test championship, but see that’s again, the boards and the ICC to decide, what I think having watched a lot of men’s tests, cricket, and men’s test championships, that would be exciting to be part of something of that sort. But again, as I said, that would be their decision.

But the first part, the message to the youngsters, I think nothing. I think just try and just walk in the feeling of wearing that whites, having that, we just got our whites today and just a different feeling, a lot of excitement around the camp who got it for the first time.

So keep that excitement and channel it in a way where it’s productive in terms of getting the things done, for the team as well. So that’s the only message that the girls are excited about, they’re looking forward to playing the test match. But, having said that, all excitement has to be channelized into getting that, things done for the team. So that’s the only message I like from the whole support, support unit of the team.

Reporter: Thank you. Thank you.

About Akshay Badwe

Meet Akshay Badwe, a dedicated cricket sports reporter with a passion for the game. Stay connected with me for the latest updates, insights, and news from the cricketing world. Join me for a cup of coffee as we discuss and analyze the exciting world of cricket. Let's keep the conversations going and stay up-to-date with all things cricket.

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