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‘It is not only about skills but also mental toughness,’ says Jhulan Goswami

India pacer Jhulan Goswami dwells on the challenges of switching from white-ball to red-ball cricket

What does it take to play a Test match, and that too in England, after seven years? Ask Jhulan Goswami and she will stress on the importance of mindset.

The veteran fast bowler is excited yet nervous to hold the red ball in the fickle English weather after such a long gap.

The Indian women’s cricket team will start with a one-off Test in Bristol from June 16 followed by three ODIs and as many T20Is.

In a chat with Sportstar, Jhulan shares her thoughts on the skills needed to excel against England, the return of Ramesh Powar as head coach and the lessons learnt from W.V. Raman. Excerpts:

How prepared are you to bowl longer spells? It seems very challenging with no Test cricket for the girls in the past seven years…

Even in the domestic tournaments, there is no red-ball cricket as such. After a long time, the whole team will be switching from white-ball to red-ball.

It all depends on how our bodies react after being on the field for 90 overs.

It is not only about skills but also mental toughness.

You have to stay strong in your mind because you need thinking powers to analyse the game situation in different sessions.

The youngsters may lack that temperament…

You may not get a wicket in a session but there will be sessions where you can bag three in one go. So you have to be alert, switch off and switch on accordingly as you won’t be able to concentrate for the whole span of the game. You have to take ball by ball and session by session. When we played the last Test match in 2014, there were many debuts.

I am looking forward to more debuts this time as well. The players are glad that we are getting to play a Test match after a long time. And I want to thank the BCCI officials for this initiative.

Your thoughts on Ramesh Powar’s return as head coach and W.V. Raman’s exit?

I would like to congratulate Ramesh and we are looking forward to working with him.

It was a great experience to work with Raman but I am not going to compare. He has worked hard on us and he taught us a lot of things from his coaching experience over the years. I want to wish him well for his future.

How is the team going to prepare in the UK? Will there be warm-up games?

Practice and preparation depends on the COVID protocols that one needs to follow today. We really don’t know where the pandemic is going to take us eventually.

There are lots of restrictions but as professional athletes, we have to prepare mentally so that we can adapt under any circumstances. For any team, going and performing in England is a challenge as the weather plays a huge role on those wickets. The one who can adjust to the weather and wicket faster will be successful.

As one of the senior-most players, what do you think are the areas that need to be ironed out before the World Cup in 2022?

We have a long way to go. At this moment, let us go through this process because we, as a team, need to sit down and plan for the tournament. The whole thing is dependent on COVID right now as we are getting entangled in the pandemic. Individual preparation has also taken a hit due to a lot of restrictions and protocols. It is better to think of a plan when we get together and follow the guidelines by the BCCI.

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