Chennai Test a Golden Opportunity for India’s 2025 World Cup Bid

Indian women’s cricket team captain Harmanpreet Kaur sees the upcoming one-off Test against South Africa in Chennai as a golden opportunity to get acclimated to home conditions ahead of the much-anticipated 2025 ODI World Cup, which India will be hosting.

Importance of Familiarization with Home Venues

The historic Test match, starting on June 28th at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, marks a significant moment for Indian women’s cricket. Team India last played a Test match at this venue in 1976, and haven’t played a Women’s T20I there at all. While they recently secured a clean sweep in the ODI series against South Africa, Kaur recognizes the value of experiencing diverse playing conditions within India.

“As a team, it’s a great opportunity for us,” Kaur stated. “We are getting used to home conditions… even though they are home conditions, we don’t have much experience here.” She expressed her belief that the Chennai Test will provide valuable insights into wicket behaviour and potential team combinations for the World Cup. “Before the World Cup, with about one year left, I think as a team we are taking the opportunity with both hands whenever we are playing home series.”

Focus on Sessions and Adaptability

Kaur, who led India to convincing victories in their last two Tests against England and Australia in December 2023, highlighted the importance of a session-by-session approach in the longer Test format. “In the long format you have to be there for four days,” she acknowledged. “But if you think like that as a player you can overthink. The last time [we played a Test] we only thought about winning the sessions and that really helped us. This time also we will focus on each session.”

She emphasized the mental resilience fostered by the Test format, where teams have time to recover from setbacks. “The best thing about Test cricket is you have time to come back. If you lose one session, you always have time to [make up for] things.” Kaur credited the team’s support staff for instilling this approach, encouraging them to break down the game into manageable chunks and avoid getting overwhelmed by the overall length of the Test. “Those little points really helped us win the last two Tests and we just want to continue [to apply] those,” she added.

Muzumdar’s Experience Provides Guidance

Kaur acknowledged the invaluable guidance of head coach Amol Muzumdar, whose extensive experience in red-ball cricket serves as a significant asset for the team. “I didn’t have much experience in Test cricket when I got to captain those two Tests,” she admitted. “Amol sir helped me. He has played a lot of Test [red-ball] cricket and he has a lot of experience. With his experience, he has helped me with things like how to take decisions on the field. I do have a bit of an idea now.”

Unveiling the Chennai Pitch

With limited knowledge about how the Chennai wicket will behave, Kaur remains cautiously optimistic. “We don’t have much idea about how Chennai wicket is going to play,” she said. “We have only seen when the men were playing but women’s cricket is totally different… the pace, the way we bowl and bat, I think we’ll know that only once we take the field tomorrow, see how the pitch behaves and take decisions.” She expressed confidence in the team’s experienced support staff to provide crucial guidance throughout the Test.

Harmanpreet Kaur’s leadership and focus on strategic preparation position the Indian women’s cricket team for a strong showing in the upcoming Chennai Test and beyond, as they set their sights on World Cup glory in 2025.

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