Indian women's cricket team is gearing up to take on Australia in their own den across all three forms of the game. The tour, comprising three ODIs, one-off Test and three T20Is, is scheduled to run from September 21 to October 10.
It will be India’s first assignment in Australia after the Women’s T20 World Cup 2020, in which they played great cricket to reach the final but lost to the hosts by 85 runs in the summit clash.
With only a week to go for the opening game of the tour, India opener Smriti Mandhana has said that her side has improved "massively" since the World T20 final defeat to Australia last year and will be "extra competitive" this time around.
"The team has grown massively (since the T20 World Cup)," Mandhana told 'The Scoop podcast'.
The Indian squad completed its 14-day hotel quarantine on Monday (September 13).
"COVID was a big break after the T20 World Cup and a lot of girls had a chance to go back and understand more about their games, where they lack as an individual and come back stronger."
Mandhana said that after the COVID-induced break, the Indian team is slowly getting back into the rhythm of playing cricket.
"The whole team has worked on their fitness and skills...we are still getting into a rhythm of playing matches continuously but the last five, six months we have been playing cricket and now we are getting back into the match mindset. Hopefully the series goes well for the whole team."
India have travelled to Australia after a multi-format series in England in June and July. In fact, players such as Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and Shafali Verma and Mandhana also displayed their skills in The Hundred tournament.
The southpaw said competing against Australia is always challenging and the team tends to enjoy batting on the bouncy tracks Down Under.
"We all love playing against Australia, because they are one of the best teams in the world and quite competitive," Mandhana said.
"When it comes to Australia, you're a bit more pumped because the level of competitiveness the Australian team, it just rubs off on us and we also start being extra competitive."
"Australian wickets have a true bounce and I think everyone loves batting in Australia. No one will tell you they don't like batting in Australia," she added.
While the three ODIs will be played in Mackay from September 21-26, Queensland will host the solitary Test (September 30-October 3) before staging the T20I series (October 7-10).
(With PTI inputs)