Suresh Raina has a special message for Indian women’s team at ICC World Cup | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Suresh Raina has a special message for Indian women’s team at ICC World Cup

India have so far won all their four matches at the ICC Women’s World Cup and stand a good chance of qualifying for the semi-finals. Suresh Raina lauded the efforts of the team.

cricket Updated: Jul 07, 2017 13:41 IST
Shalini Gupta
India have won all their matches at the ICC Women’s World Cup so far.
India have won all their matches at the ICC Women’s World Cup so far.(Action Images via Reuters)

Suresh Raina is closely following the Indian women’s team progress in the ICC Women’s World Cup in England.

“The Indian team is on a roll and all credit goes to Mithali (Raj) — how she is able to extract performance from the youngsters apart from doing well herself. The win against Pakistan was special and I am cheering for them to go all the way and win the World Cup,” Raina, who is training for his own comeback, told HT from Netherlands.

Raina picked Deepti Sharma, the 19-year old from Agra, for special mention. Deepti had smashed 78 runs in India’s win over Sri Lanka. “I am so proud of Deepti, the way she batted with maturity alongside Mithali, showing her intent. The wicket was on the slower side. Keeping this in mind, Deepti pushed for singles and couples to build up her innings at the start and later she went for the shots. Her shot selection was impeccable. After my training here, I watched the highlights,” Raina said.

READ | ICC Women’s World Cup: Mithali Raj credits spinners for India’s victory vs Sri Lanka

Raina had met Deepti in New Delhi after she had set up a world record opening stand of 320 runs with Punam Raut against Ireland, contributing 188 runs, in South Africa.

“Deepti is going to rock again with the bat. Wait for more brilliant knocks from her. I am also surprised at the turn she is getting with her off-spinners in England,” added Raina.

The daughter of a retired Indian Railways employee and a government school retired principal, Deepti’s tryst with cricket started when she was eight and used to accompany her brother Sumit to the local stadium for his practice sessions.

READ | India ‘keeper Sushma Verma proves mettle in Women’s World Cup win over Pakistan

“Her interest grew when she saw me move in the cricket circles in Agra. I was a fast bowler and everybody called me ‘Bala’ as I bowled and looked like L Balaji. She was awestruck with the reputation I earned. She also started to train with me. And within a few years she was playing district and state matches,” said Sumit, who quit his marketing job and opened a cricket academy in Avadhpuri colony where they live.

“When she made her India debut in 2014, I decided to quit my job and focus on her cricket. That is when I opened a cricket academy near our house,” added Sumit, who played for Uttar Pradesh at the junior level.

Deepti has six siblings in all, five brothers and one sister. During the India World Cup matches, all neighbourhood friends get together at Deepti’s place to watch the game on TV. And Wednesday was no different. “Everyone was happy to see Deepti score well. We were disappointed when she got out. It would have been good to see her score a ton,” shared Sumit.

At home, Deepti is fond of cooking. Her brother insists she makes world’s best “Poha”. “When she is home, she loves to cook. She loves making “Poha” for everyone for breakfast,” said Sumit.

India take on South Africa in their next match on Saturday in Leicester.“If the Indian women’s team wins the World Cup a new phase will begin. I wish all the luck to the ladies. Chak de India,” said Raina.