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Mithali Raj calls the Australia tour tough but crucial ahead of the World T20

Mithali would be leading the Indian women's side in a 3-match T20I series and a 3-match ODI series against Australia, starting January 26.

The Indian team would have a tough task of performing down under en route the ICC World T20 in March.

India women's cricket team captain Mithali Raj on Monday said the forthcoming limited overs tour of Australia will be a tough one for the visitors, adding that the batsmen friendly wickets will help the team prepare ahead of the World Twenty20 at home.

The Indian women are scheduled to play three One-Day Internationals (ODI) and three Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) from January 26 in Australia. Fast bowling all-rounder Jhulan Goswami will be the vice-captain of the side.

India will start their campaign with a T20I match in Adelaide on January 26, followed by the second T20I on January 29 (Melbourne), and third on January 31 (Sydney).

Following the tour, India will start their World T20 campaign against Bangladesh on March 15 in Bangalore.

A tough tour ahead

"As a player before playing the T20 World Cup it is important to play in batting friendly wickets and playing is Australia is the best option. The girls will get a good exposure ahead of the big tournament.

“Australia are the T20 world champions. We will get to analyse where we stand with this tour. They are a great team," Mithali said at a press conference here before leaving for Australia.

India's men, who are currently in Australia, are struggling after losing all the three ODIs in the five-match series so far. But Mithali said it won't impact their morale.

"I do not want to look at the men's team performance and go ahead with the tour. We will see how our players are shaping up and we will give our best.

“But as a captain I know it will be both a tough and an interesting tour for the team," the 33-year-old said.

The side looks an inexperienced one and will bank on Mithali and Jhulan to fire for them.

"After six to seven years India women's team will be playing Australia. Except two to three players we do not have big experience but the young side has worked together for the last two years. I am hopeful the young team will give their best for the tour," the captain said.

Speaking about how she sees on-field sledging, Mithali said, "We all know Australia plays hard cricket. As long as sledging is within the line there is no problem. It is good for the game."

BCCI contract a boon for the players

Former India skipper and current India women's team coach Purnima Rau said the women's team coming under the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) contract is the best thing that has happened, adding that it will give a big boost to the confidence of the players.

"The girls getting a contract under BCCI is the best thing that has happened. It is great for the women's cricket. It will surely help girls and will give them the confidence," coach Purnima said.

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