Australia's 20-year-old star batter is champing at the bit to test herself against the red ball in Indian conditions
Litchfield ready for ultimate bucket list Test
Phoebe Litchfield can recall being glued to the television as a kid, watching with rapt attention as the Australian men's Test team battled it out in challenging Indian conditions.
Now, the 20-year-old will tick off a major item on her bucket list when she gets her chance to open the batting for Australia in their drought-breaking Test against India in Mumbai starting Thursday.
It is the first time Australia's women have played a red-ball game in the subcontinent nation since 1984 – well before any members of the current squad were even born.
Litchfield will partner fellow left-hander Beth Mooney at the top of the order in the pair's second Test together, following the former's debut against England at Trent Bridge in June.
"Any Test match is special, but a Test match in India, you think of the raging turners, people batting in their Baggy Greens, and the fifth day survival stories from the men's Tests, and you go, 'okay, I want some of that'," Litchfield told cricket.com.au.
"(Batting on Test wickets in India) is a challenge, but it's lots of fun.
"I think it makes you refine your technique and it's a good challenge, but it's also what we're going to get so it's important to train how we play and really focusing in on what our strengths are on that wicket."
Litchfield looked immediately at home in Test whites in Nottingham but was dismissed in unfortunate circumstances in both innings.
First, she was given out lbw on 23 leaving a delivery from Kate Cross – and replays later showed had she reviewed, she would have overturned the decision – before she was bowled, again shouldering arms, on 46 in Australia's second dig.
"Don't leave balls on the stumps," Litchfield said with a laugh when asked what she had learned from her Test debut.
"But apart from that one, just time out in the middle and really stepping back and looking at the big picture.
"I think I batted for about 10 overs in that first Test and it felt like an eternity. So just stepping back and going, 'Okay, we've got time, so just play the situation and just rely on my mate out there and play cricket.
"Moons is great. I've really enjoyed batting with her – she understands me pretty well now and I'm learning to understand her. She's really knowledgeable and always knows what to say."
This is Litchfield's second visit to India, after she made her international debut during Australia's brief five T20I trip last December.
The Orange product said she had developed enormously as an international cricketer and person in the 12 months since, a period that saw her establish herself in Australia's best XI across all three formats alongside breakout campaigns in domestic T20 tournaments.
"It's pretty cool to be here 12 months since the last tour, I'm really enjoying it and embracing a bit more of the experience," she said.
"I think I'm a bit more comfortable around the group, I've solidified my spot in the squad, which is nice, and I'm just keen to keep getting better.
"The preparation has been good – it's been hot, it's been sweaty, but it's been really nice to get some quality time in the middle and out in the practice nets."
Litchfield's second visit to India started on the perfect note after she received an unexpected payday in the Women's Premier League auction shortly before she departed Australia.
The left-hander was the subject of a bidding war and was ultimately sold for A$182,000 to Gujarat Giants, where she will join Aussie teammates Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner and Lauren Cheatle.
"I was actually at a mate's 20th and I wasn't watching (the auction)," Litchfield said.
"I wasn't really expecting anything and then my phone blew up and I was like 'Holy....' – there were a few expletives.
"It was pretty cool, and then to learn how much it was, I was pretty starstruck.
"I'm just excited to travel the world, it's the best gig as a cricketer, you get to travel the world playing in heaps of conditions and seeing different cultures."
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: Alyssa Healy (c), Tahlia McGrath (vc), Darcie Brown, Lauren Cheatle (Test only), Heather Graham, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Grace Harris (T20s only), Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, 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