Indian women's team to reach NZ early, play practice games

The women's team was initially supposed to have a preparatory camp in Mumbai before heading to New Zealand, but the BCCI has decided to send the players soon after the domestic tournaments to acclimatise to the conditions.

The Indian women's cricket team will travel to New Zealand for its first international assignment since the World T20.   -  Vivek Bendre

The Indian women’s cricket team will travel to New Zealand a little early in a bid get acclimatised to the conditions.

The team, which plays three ODIs and three T20s against New Zealand from January 24, was initially supposed to have a preparatory camp in Mumbai, before flying out. But the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has now decided to send the team by January 14.

The team is scheduled to play a couple of practice games to get used to the cool conditions of New Zealand. This will also be the first assignment for the team’s new coach W.V. Raman.

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While the players and the support staff are yet to receive the final tour itinerary, BCCI’s GM, Cricket Operations, Syed Saba Karim confirmed the development to Sportstar. “They will have 10 days in New Zealand, (and at that time) they will be having practice games and training sessions there. It is better to go early and prepare,” Karim said.

Karim said that the decision was taken since the women cricketers will be playing the domestic tournaments till January 6.

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“They are playing the Challengers (tournament) till January 6, so we thought it will be better that they travel early. The players will assemble in Mumbai a day before the departure,” the BCCI GM said.

This will be India’s first international assignment since the World T20, where the team lost to England in the semifinal. The team found itself in the middle of controversy after Mithali Raj was dropped from the playing XI in the semifinal, leading to the seasoned batswoman hitting out at the then coach Ramesh Powar, who eventually was not given an extension.

Now, under a new coach, the team will be hoping to get the house in order. Mithali will lead the team in the ODIs, while Harmanpreet Kaur will be the captain in the T20 series.

Meanwhile, it has been learnt that new coach Raman, who has hitherto been working as the batting consultant at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, is set to get a 50 per cent hike from his existing pay of Rs 1.2 crore per annum. The former India cricketer is most likely to officially sign the contract on the first day of the new year.