India's Maithali Raj says not bogged down by inexperienced team

New Delhi, India: Indian women's cricket captain Mithali Raj said Tuesday she believed having a young team playing the longest form of the game for the first time will work to their advantage in an upcoming one-off Test.

The Indian women's team is playing Test cricket for the first time since 2014, with many players set to make their debut in the format against the formidable English side.

"I think sometimes it's nice to go into a game without the baggage of expectations," Raj said.

"You just go in, play, and enjoy the atmosphere so it's good to have girls who are playing Test cricket for the first time."

The team will leave Wednesday for England, where they will also play three T20Is and as many ODIs.

Following that tour, they will travel to Australia, where the team will play their first-ever day-night Test with the pink ball.

"Having two back-to-back (Test) matches can give a lot of exposure to the current lot and if that can be carried forward in the coming years, it would be great for the sport," the 38-year-old Raj said at a virtual press conference.

The Indian men's team, led by Virat Kohli, will also be in England at the same time as they take on New Zealand in the inaugural Test championship starting June 18.

"It's good to have them around because they have played a lot in the UK... and they can help out because most of the girls are playing the Test format for the first time," Raj said.

Asked about the decision of Naomi Osaka, the women's world number two tennis player, to withdraw from the French Open in a row about post-match media duties, Raj said women's cricket faced its own challenges.

"It is tough to be in quarantine for any athlete," she said.

"Personally, I have not felt that I should forgo a press conference because women's cricket... it needs media support," she added, saying players should "try and help in the growth of the sport."

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