IN HER OWN WORDS: KAREN SMITHIES; 'When we first got here we had an armed guard wherever we went and we felt so important'

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'I don't think think we have played as well as we expected. In fact, I think we underestimated the Indian women when we came out here. India is not the easiest place to come to and play cricket and although we had a lot of advice before we left, there have been a few dodgy stomachs and one of the girls was still in hospital for three days with a tummy virus.

We have had a long trip with a lot of travelling involved. It's a beautiful country but we once travelled for 17 hours overnight and then had to play in a one-day international the day we arrived. The next day we travelled for over seven hours again. It really is mentally and physically demanding.

The matches themselves have been hard. I think we have all grown up as far as cricket is concerned, which has set us in good stead for the New Zealand Test in June next year.

The girls are really tired now and I will be really glad to set foot on British soil again. We have been away for six weeks now, and it is so hot here. They have three seasons here - hot, very hot and extremely hot. It's just hot at the moment, but we're not even used to this.

Over here the press coverage has been marvellous from all of the newspapers, particularly for the one-day internationals. I think there have been a few small articles in the British press, too.

Personally, I hope the matches we have been involved in over here will have been a great boost to women's cricket. We had a record crowd of over 15,000 at one of our matches. A women's Test match is run over four days and each match has gone to the last ball, so it has been brilliant entertainment for the crowds.

When we first got here we wondered what was happening. We had an armed guard wherever we went and we felt so important. The Indian women cricketers are treated very differently too. Most of the girls who play for India work for the national airways or on the railways and they are more or less paid to play cricket. They get more opportunities to play together and I think they were together for one entire month of training before we arrived.

I don't think we will be wanting to drastically change anything when we get back. But after a tour like this we will all be able to look back and learn personally from what we've done. It has certainly been invaluable for me as my first Test series and it will really help me in preparation for when New Zealand visit England in June 1996. We will be playing a one day international at Lords again, and there will be running television coverage, so you can't help being encouraged by that.'

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