Chandigarh Senior Women’s Cricket Team coach is happy the team is recovering, focussed

The team that debuted in One-Day league this season had won all 9 matches to reach the quarterfinals against Mithali Raj-led Railways team before the league was postponed
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Shalini Gupta, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON APR 12, 2020 11:15 AM IST

The Chandigarh Senior Women’s Cricket Team had been on a roll, winning nine out of nine matches in the Plate Group stage of the Senior Women’s One-Day League at Puducherry, to qualify for the quarter-finals last month.

The team led by Amanjot Kaur and coached by Khyati Gulani had reached Baroda with an aim to put up a great show against the mighty Mithali Raj-led Railways team. However, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) postponed the tournament and the teams had to head home.

Since then, Delhi-based coach Gulani, along with the team in Chandigarh, have been under lockdown. The 36-year-old thinks the momentum has definitely been broken, but at the same time it has given time to the exhausted cricketers to take care of their bodies.

“Almost the same cricketers played in the U-23 Trophy and the One-Day League. Playing 18 matches of two tournaments in the heat takes a toll on players’ bodies. With this break they can rest and recover. For example Shivangi Yadav, who kept wickets for Chandigarh in both tournaments, was worn out,” said Gulani, who is keeping a strict watch on the Chandigarh team telephonically from Delhi.

Gulani is a Level-2 coach and a former first-class cricketer. She had been coaching Delhi women’s teams in the last decade before taking charge of Nagaland senior women’s team last season. This season, however, the Union Territory Cricket Association roped her in for the Chandigarh team.

“It is difficult to limit and confine the movement of young sportspersons. This lockdown is definitely challenging, but I am trying to make them feel motivated. I am taking this time to watch their practice and game videos to identify their weaknesses. Accordingly, I assign separate drills to batters and bowlers.

“Bowlers have been asked to break the process into run-up, loading, delivery and follow-through. Now, they can do shadow practice in front of the mirror,” she said, adding that it is the coach’s job not only to improve players’ game, but also keep them motivated.

Lockdown schedule

As far as Gulani’s lockdown goes, she is keeping herself busy with exercise, meditation, cooking and cleaning of the house. “My day begins with a prayer, followed by exercise and watering the plants. I do one-hour floor exercises, which include yoga asanas, planks and surya namaskar. Also, I am deliberately trying to eat healthy meals at home now that I am not travelling. It is the best time to drink plenty of water and detox the body,” shared Gulani, who does one hour of meditation in the evening daily to maintain mental strength.

“I don’t really enjoy cooking, but somehow I have tried my hand at some recipes in the last few days and to my surprise, they have come out well,” she added.

Even though the BCCI hasn’t decided on a fixed date for conducting the Senior Women’s One Day League quarter final matches, the Chandigarh Senior Women’s team is in good hands and will emerge prepared whenever the call for the game comes.

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