Aussies quick to switch focus to looming India tour

With the WBBL season over, a multi-format tour of India awaits, starting with a rare Test match in taxing conditions

Tahlia McGrath, Darcie Brown, Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen will have little time to celebrate and commiserate following the Weber WBBL|09 final as they quickly turn their attention the upcoming tour of India.

The trio of McGrath, Schutt and Brown were part of the triumphant Strikers squad that secured back-to-back titles with a thrilling three-run win over Jonassen’s Heat side at Adelaide Oval on Saturday evening.

Next on the agenda for the Aussie stars is fitness testing, training and preparation their first multi-format tour of India, a month-long series that will include their first Test on the subcontinent since 1984.

The Australian squad will depart for Mumbai on December 13, just 10 days after the WBBL|09 decider at Adelaide Oval.

With the four-day game at the Wankhede Stadium first up starting on December 21, the Australian will need to ensure they are physically ready for the rare Test match.

The Australian squad members whose teams did not make the WBBL|09 finals – Annabel Sutherland, Kim Garth, Lauren Cheatle, Georgia Wareham, Heather Graham, Ashleigh Gardner and Ellyse Perry – had the past week off to rest and refresh ahead of their December 13 departure.

Those who featured in the Eliminator and Challenger – Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield and Beth Mooney – had a brief break before beginning to build up to the overseas campaign, while the quartet who featured in the final will be back in action later this week.

"I'd love to say I'm having a break, but I have to do fitness testing, so that's not entirely enjoyable," Heat captain Jonassen said on Saturday.

"But I'll have a couple of days off at home, spend some time with the family and regroup and start preparing for that India series.

"A Test match first up is really special, and getting to play at Wankhede Stadium – I think I've played there once before in my whole career, so to get the opportunity to be back at a stadium like that will be really special.

"The body's feeling pretty good after such a an arduous WBBL campaign, there was a lot of travel and a lot of quick turnarounds for matches, but I'm really pleased with how the body's got through and now it's just about getting the mind right again."

McGrath castles Heat pair in match-turning burst

Heat opener Grace Harris, who has only been named in the T20I squad, will fly to India later this month and could potentially feature in Queensland’s next round of Women’s National Cricket League games before she departs.

Given the tight turnaround between the WBBL and the India series, Australia's bowlers took on extra work around their T20 games to ensure they would be physically ready for the red-ball game.

McGrath said last week she had found it challenging to keep one eye on the tour while captaining the Strikers throughout WBBL|09.

Why Ellyse Perry is the ultimate Test Match specialist

"It's been tough," she said. "There's been a lot of bowling my loads after the game, there's been a lot of making sure I've got the right metres and gym sessions under my belt.

"Playing a Test match in Indian conditions is something that doesn't come around too often and I'm really excited for it. 

"It's about putting in the work now, all the Aussie girls have been doing the same, so our bodies are right to get us through a pretty busy schedule in India."

Meanwhile India have named a 16-player squad for their upcoming Tests against England and Australia.

Aussie stars celebrate a rare Test win in style

The hosts will have just three days’ break between the two Tests, which are their first on home soil since 2014, with the game against England to run from December 14-17 at Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium.

India last played a Test in October 2021, when they met Australia in a drawn pink-ball encounter on the Gold Coast.

Australia's multi-format tour of India

December 21-24: Test match, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

December 28: First ODI, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

December 30: Second ODI, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

January 2: Third ODI, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

January 5: First T20I, DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai

January 7: Second T20I, DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai

January 9: Third T20I, DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai

Australia squad: Darcie Brown, Lauren Cheatle (Test only), Heather Graham, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Grace Harris (T20s only), Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham

India Test squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Deepti Sharma, Yastika Bhatia (wk), Richa Ghosh (wk), Sneh Rana, Shubha Satheesh, Harleen Deol, Saika Ishaque, Renuka Singh Thakur, Titas Sadhu, Meghna Singh, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar