The first women’s Test in India since 2014 will be staged at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, with England due to play a four-day match there from December 14-17. England will tour India in December for three T20Is and a Test, and ESPNcricinfo understands the tour will be staged in its entirety in the state of Maharashtra.
The T20Is will be held at the Wankhede Stadium on December 6, 9 and 10 – with back-to-back weekend games representing an attempt to maximise crowds – and the Test at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai from December 14. The dates are awaiting final sign-off and will soon be made public.
“The opportunity to come and play a Test match in India is bucket-list stuff for a lot of players,” Kate Cross, the England seamer, told ESPNcricinfo in Bangalore, where she is working as a broadcaster at the men’s World Cup. “I’ve been in India for a couple of weeks now and you can see that girls have role models in that team now.”
“The WPL [Women’s Premier League] has obviously helped with the growth of the women’s game. After the summer we’ve just had with the Ashes, you want to be playing in front of big crowds and there is an appetite for the women’s game in India that just keeps growing. If it’s well advertised, people will come and watch.”
The BCCI staged the entire first season of the WPL at two venues in Maharashtra – Brabourne Stadium, which neighbours the Wankhede, and the DY Patil Stadium – earlier this year and the state is becoming a hub of Indian women’s cricket.
Australia women are due to travel to India straight after England’s tour. Code Sports reported earlier this month that the Test and ODI games of that tour will be staged at the Wankhede, with the T20Is held at the DY Patil.
England are expected to arrive in India at the start of December, though some players may travel a day or two late if they are involved in the final of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), which is scheduled for December 2. There are 15 English players involved in the WBBL, with at least one in every club.
Players who are not involved in the WBBL will acclimatise for the tour with a warm-weather training camp in Oman from mid-November. “It was a brutal season,” Cross said. “At the back end of it I was really quite tired but I’m ready to go again now: I’ve been champing at the bit to pick a ball up again.”
“I’m always crying out to play more Test cricket,” Cross said. “I love it, and I want to play more of it, play in different conditions and test my skills. It challenges your basic skills and that’s something I pride myself on: what I can provide for a team is my repeatability and hopefully a bit of consistency with the ball.”
England have played more regularly than India over the last decade, playing nine Tests in that time – but none in Asia. Earlier this month, a group of batters including Alice Capsey and Sophia Dunkley travelled to Mumbai for a camp led by head coach Jon Lewis, which focused on their batting against spin.
The tour will also feature an England A series in Mumbai, likely to comprise three T20s in Mumbai starting late November. The England A squad is also expected to travel to Oman next month, along with the members of the senior squad who are not involved in the WBBL.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98