There is an old world charm to this sprawling city in the northeast. The weather is pleasant too, with the winter refusing to give way for the summer yet.
The setting for the three-match Women’s T20 International series between India and England, which begins at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium on Monday, couldn’t have been more ideal. The Assam Cricket Association’s decision to allow free entry to the ground is expected to make the atmosphere more festive. Moreover, the spectators could get a chance to watch some quality action over the next week.
For the players trying to make an impression, this series is an opportunity to stake a claim for the Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia, which is only 11 months away.
The two teams came face to face in the semifinal of the last edition of the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean. England won that match at North Sound quite comfortably. Before that, the two sides had squared off in Mumbai during a triangular series. England was the winner then, too, with Dannielle Wyatt hammering an astonishing 124 off 64 balls to help her team chase down a record target.
Read: Captain Smriti Mandhana ready to take off
India’s record against England in the shortest format of the game is hardly flattering. In 14 matches between the two sides, it has only won three.
So a chance for a payback beckons the Women in Blue.
Smriti Mandhana, one of the most elegant batters in world cricket at the moment would certainly be keenly followed. She is leading the side in the absence of the injured Harmanpreet Kaur.
India still possesses a strong batting line-up, which includes the likes of Mithali Raj – there has been some speculation about the possible retirement of the former captain from this format – and the prodigious Jemimah Rodrigues.
Seamer Shikha Pandey and spinners Ekta Bisht and Poonam Yadav are expected to maintain the form they showed in the three-match ODI series in Mumbai, which India won 2-1. The wickets of England’s in-form batters Natalie Sciver, captain Heather Knight and Wyatt will be particularly crucial.
In Katherine Brunt, Georgia Elwiss and Anya Shrusbole, England has a good seam attack, but the injury to left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone is a setback.
The three matches have been rescheduled to start at 11 am.
India: Smriti Mandhana (capt.), Mithali Raj, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia, Bharti Fulmali, Anuja Patil, Shikha Pandey, Komal Zanzad, Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Radha Yadav, Veda Krishnamurty and Harleen Deol.
England: Heather Knight (capt.), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Sophia Dunkley Brown, Freya Davies, Georgia Elwiss, Amy Ellen Jones, Laura Marsh, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Linsey Smith, Lauren Winfield, Danielle Wyatt and Alex Hartley.