India’s T20 skipper Harmanpreet Kaur believes that their run to last year’s women’s world cup has meant that the team members know how to excel in major tournaments and that should help them challenge for the title in the ICC Women’s World T20 to be played in West Indies from November 9.
Addressing the media ahead of the team’s departure to the Caribbean on Saturday, Harmanpreet insisted the team now knows how to handle pressure. “We had not played in a World Cup final before last year except Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami. But now we do. Once we get the experience of a particular situation, you are able to think about what went wrong. Had we been able to handle our nerves for a little longer and handle the situation then it would have been good.
“But we have learned from our mistakes and I hope that we wont repeat the mistakes we made the last time and if we get another chance,” she told reporters.
The Indian team, led by Mithali Raj, had stormed into the ODI World Cup final in 2017, falling short by just nine runs against England. But the remarkable run has resulted in a sizeable fan following of the women’s game in the country.
Harmanpreet admitted that the increased expectations and fan base after their runner up performance last year at the ODI World Cup is a source of motivation. “The increased fan base motivates us because when you have a lot of people watching your matches it is motivating. You feel that people also know what is your caliber and what you are capable of. The whole country is watching you.
The Indian team’s preparation for the tournament was however far from ideal with the proposed T20I series in West Indies was cancelled by the home board. This meant that the India team had to train in Mumbai and the selectors opted for the full squad to face Australia in ‘A series’ to give them valuable match practice.
Harmanpreet’s team won the series 3-0 and the captain was happy that they got a chance to try out new combinations and experiment with the playing XI.
“We were trying to give chances to everyone. So before the World Cup everybody spent a lot of time on the wicket. So almost everyone got a chance. We are ready to think whoever is ready for a chance in the first XI or not, we can plan accordingly,” she said.
Coach Ramesh Powar insisted that they were almost certain of the playing XI, adding that the fearless youngsters will be better equipped to deal with pressure.
The former India international said that he has had deliberately put a few team members under pressure to help them prepare better. “We tried in these 8 games to put them under pressure. We changed a lot of things. We played with only one seamer and put the spinners under pressure. We wanted to replicate pressure situations which are important, we exposed them to the situation. Let them go through that, that’s how we learn,” he said.