Deepti’s love for Test cricket intact as she backs skipper’s demand
India team all-rounder Deepti Sharma supports captain Harmanpreet Kaur's demand for more Test matches in women's cricket, as it allows players to showcase their skills. Sharma, who has played only two Tests in her career, believes that increasing the number of Tests will raise the level of the game in India. She also praises franchise cricket for providing financial rewards and exposure for women cricketers in the country. Sharma is currently preparing for the Asian Games and aims to perform well in the tournament.
In her nine-year career, India team all-rounder Deepti Sharma has played only two Tests but her love for the longer version of the game continues and now she backs skipper Harmanpreet Kaur’s demand for playing more Tests.
Sharma got to play her first Test against England at Bristol in June 2021 before playing her second and last game so far against Australia four months later in October at Carrara. She has taken five wickets and scored 152 runs in the two Tests.
The team played their last Test in Australia two years ago and in the current FTP cycle that goes on from 2022-25, the Indian women’s team will play only two Tests-one against England and one against Australia. Interestingly, on the other hand, England will play the most number of Tests (five), followed by Australia (four) and South Africa (three).
“I love Test cricket too as it gives you a chance to show your real skill on the ground. I support Harmanpreet’s demand for playing more Tests as many as matches in the longer version of the game will help you increase the level of the game of women’s cricket in India,” said Sharma.
She, however, said that even if she has not got to play a Test match for the last two years, she is not missing the moments of Test matches of men’s cricket. “I make sure that I get time to see the Tests of the Team India as it teaches me a lot and even recently, I watched all the five Test matches of Ashes between Australia and hosts England,” said Sharma who has scored 3000 plus runs and 200 plus wickets in her career so far.
Agra’s Sharma, who switched her loyalty to Bengal after playing just two seasons of domestic cricket for Uttar Pradesh, is an integral part of the Women’s Premier League side UP Warriorz, said that franchise cricket has changed the fortunes of women cricketers in India and now there has been a huge push to women’s cricketers in terms of money as well as exposure.
“Look at The Hundred where you get to bat 100 balls and bowl equal number of balls too. The first edition of the WPL was quite successful for the women cricketers in India and I believe that the franchise cricket has transformed the perception of the women cricketers in India,” she said, adding, “Now, they are getting good money as well as recognition too. The WPL has also gave exposure to many domestic cricketers.”
“I used to see the auction in the men’s cricket all the time, and when it came for the women cricketers, I was quite excited. I wasn’t focused on the price but was targeting a good performance for the side,” said Sharma.
She also refused to accept that she ever felt the pressure of playing differently for India and for a franchise. “I don’t believe in any pressure as I believe that your mindset remains the same. The situation might be different in different matches, but always tried to give my best in all the matches even if I am playing in domestic cricket.”
She, however, said that playing for a franchise outside the country for the first time was altogether a different experience. “When I was playing for a franchise league for the first time outside India, I was a bit nervousness at the start, but I kept my nerves under control and targeted one match at a time for London Spirit.”
Sharma, who has been playing for many franchises league the world over, is nowadays preparing herself for the September-October Asian Games at Hangzhou in China as she finds it a big opportunity for the Indian side. “Currently, I am focusing on the Asian Games as it is a big chance for everyone on the Indian side to prove supremacy in Asia,” said Sharma, adding, “I am doing all my bit at the off-season training camp of UP Warriorz so that I could do well there.”