Dambulla, June 22 (Ajit Weekly News) Ahead of the T20I series opener against Sri Lanka at Dambulla on Thursday, India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur was confident that Jemimah Rodrigues will give her best whenever any opportunity comes her way.
After missing out on the 50-over World Cup in New Zealand this year, Jemimah struck a 21-ball 24 and a match-winning 44-ball 66 for Supernovas in their victorious Women’s T20 Challenge campaign in Pune. Before this, she amassed 243 runs in six innings for Mumbai, at an average of 60.75 and strike-rate of 167.58 in the Senior Women’s T20 League this year.
“I know she was not a part of the (50-over) World Cup. But Jemimah is someone who is experienced in the T20 format and has done really well for the side in T20Is. I think whatever opportunity she gets; she is ready to grab. It’s very important to keep talking to the players when you are going to plan as it will be difficult to give everyone equal opportunity. So, Jemimah will give her best whenever any opportunity comes in her way,” said Harmanpreet in a virtual press conference.
With the women’s T20 event at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham from July-August and women’s T20 World Cup happening in South Africa early next year, India will be playing a slew of matches in the shortest format of the game. The road to all of that begins from the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka. Harmanpreet is keen to address and improve on the issue of India often losing the momentum when wickets fall in quick succession.
“There have been many times in the past when we lose wickets, we tend to lose momentum; don’t get to create it. It becomes a big worry for us, especially in that area after we lose early wickets, it is something we are trying to address, to maintain the momentum even after we lose wickets and get a bigger total.”
She also wants for India to improve on their fielding in the format. “Second thing is our fielding, on which we are working for a really long time. Girls are now looking in great shape and are giving their hundred percent. Our fielding coach is really working hard on them to try and improve that aspect.”
With Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma set to open the batting, it raises questions over how other openers in the side like Sabbhineni Meghana and Yastika Bhatia adjust in the batting order. Asked how India look to sort this, Harmanpreet remarked, “We do have three-four openers, who usually open the batting. But when you come to the Indian team, you need to prepare really well whenever you get the opportunity of whatever is coming your way.”
“The coach and I spoke to the players that whatever opportunity you are getting, you should be ready to go and perform. But still, they are ready to bat at any number, which is what you need as a batting unit.”
Pace all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar has been a vital cog in the wheel for India. But with her history of suffering injuries to ankle, hamstring and an ACL tear, Harmanpreet is aware of managing her workload in an intense year for India. “Every player wants to give 200% every time on the field. I can totally understand her as the way I approach the game, it’s very similar. You have to work hard in all three departments every day, which causes a chance of having a little bit of niggles.”
“We are looking at her workload, like how to manage her load in training sessions. With so many games happening, we also know which games are important and which games she will get rest. We will be flexible with her as we need her for the next four-five years (for India) so that she can improve as a cricketer and understand her game very well.”
–Ajit Weekly News