Competing at CWG can be game-changer for women’s cricket: Kaur

Published on Jul 23, 2022 07:01 PM IST

Indian captain Kaur is banking on the experience of reading the conditions before coming up with an ideal scoring strategy.

India's Harmanpreet Kaur plays a shot(ANI)
India's Harmanpreet Kaur plays a shot(ANI)

Indian women’s cricket team captain Harmanpreet Kaur would have heaved a sigh of relief when her visa arrived just in time before the squad departs to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games (CWG).

While teams like Australia, Pakistan, hosts England and South Africa are already playing T20 cricket in Ireland and England, India will have less than a week to get acclimatized for the mega event before their opener against Australia on July 29. Indian captain Kaur is banking on the experience of reading the conditions before coming up with an ideal scoring strategy.

“It is very important that we go out there and experience the conditions and then decide what sort of strategy we will make. It is difficult to sit here (in India) and make guesses about how many runs can be scored as a competitive total in a T20 game nowadays. We are very positive and raring to go for the challenge,” said the 32-year-old who led India to the T20 and ODI series win against Sri Lanka recently.

Kaur, the India T20 skipper, took over the ODI captaincy ahead of the Sri Lanka tour after veteran Mithali Raj quit international cricket. The India team last competed in England in the summer of 2021 where they played a one-off Test match along with the T20 and ODI series. While the Test ended in a draw, England won both the limited-overs series.

For the CWG where women’s cricket is making its debut, India have been clubbed with Australia, Pakistan (July 31) and Barbados (August 3) in their pool and will seek a top finish.

Talking about the excitement of walking alongside other Indian athletes during the opening ceremony and the prospect of experiencing the unique atmosphere of an event like the CWG, a thrilled Kaur said, “Competing at such tournaments can be a game-changer for women’s cricket. Regular participation can help the sport grow and gain more popularity. We all have grown up watching the Commonwealth Games and Olympics and they have impacted every athlete in some way or the other.”

The CWG will also be a test for coach Ramesh Powar. Since he took over as coach in his second stint, the team has won just the series in Sri Lanka after a dismal showing in the ODI World Cup in New Zealand. With the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) extending his tenure for another year, Powar will hope for a strong performance from the team. The coach said should the possibility arise in Birmingham, he would love his players to have an interaction with Neeraj Chopra and PV Sindhu.

“I am curious to know what all goes in their mind when they prepare for crucial matches and also handle the pressure. We as a group want to exchange words with these top-class athletes,” said Powar, the former Indian spinner.

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    Shalini Gupta is a member of the Chandigarh sports team and has been a sports journalist for 10 years. She mainly writes on cricket.

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