The last time the Indian women's team played a Test match was in November 2014 against the visiting South African team in Mysore. But Mithali Raj and girls are set to play two Test matches this year, including a day-night Test against Australia. But the first challenge will be against England in June.
And Test deputy Harmanpreet Kaur -- also the T20I skipper -- cannot hold her excitement at the prospect of playing two quality sides in the red-ball format.
In an interaction with ANI ahead of the UK tour, Harmanpreet opened up about her expectations from the upcoming Test matches, how the series loss against South Africa was a wake-up call and the battle against Covid-19.
"I am eagerly waiting to play the Test match and fortunately we are getting to play two against the finest teams that are England and Australia. Test match is the real challenge of skill, stamina, and patience. Conditions on the field are far different from that of a shorter format. For both batters and the bowlers, it is very important to plan for having enough time on the field, bowl, and bat for longer times, and most importantly show great patience. Test match is the best format for developing overall skills, stamina, and hand-eye coordination," said Harmanpreet.
When asked about the ODI and T20I series loss against South Africa, Harmanpreet said: "It has not been a great year for any one of us, personally I know and feel that whatever is required for us as players to follow as a routine has been impossible due to pandemic and moreover playing no matches at all was another factor."
"The team did not give the best results in the series against South Africa because it was the first series played since the 2020 T20 World Cup. Presently, the team looks good and we are prepared to play some good cricket in England followed by Australia," added the 32-year-old.
India women's team will take on England in a one-off Test, three ODIs, and three T20Is. The two teams will first square off in a four-day Test match, beginning June 16.
Teen sensation Shafali Verma who has taken the world by storm in the shortest format, is now ready to ply her trade in the 50-over format and Test cricket.
Talking about Shafali's growth as a player, Harmanpreet said: "Shafali is the energy in the team. Her positivity and the 'bindas' attitude on the field gives a lot of confidence to the rest of her teammates. She is definitely the rising star who has already proved her talent."
Earlier this year, Harmanpreet had tested positive for COVID-19. The women's T20I skipper urged every Indian to get vaccinated at the earliest to minimise their chances of catching the virus.
"My message to all my fellow Indians is to please get vaccinated and do not delay any longer, do not trust any rumours. It is our responsibility to support each other and when the efforts are being made by the necessary departments then we should avail it. Staying indoors is the new normal and we must respect these conditions till the time everything is normal, wearing your mask and washing your hands at all times will surely help each one of us survive this deadly virus," Harmanpreet signed off.