Failure teaches you more than success: Jemimah Rodrigues
Jemimah Rodrigues has largely been her usual buzzing self even during the phase of prolonged pause. Not only did the Mumbai teen train with her father-cum-coach with a plastic ball inside her building premises during the lockdown, the multi-talented India cricketer also turned host, along with teammate Smriti Mandhana, for a chat show on social media.
Now back to a full-fledged training routine, the 19-year-old is eager to get back to competitive cricket with the Women’s T20 Challenge scheduled in the UAE in November. India’s top-order batswoman talks about the pros and cons of the league clashing with the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), her learning from a below-par 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup with the bat and carrying the burden of expectations at a young age.
Excited about finally getting back to action in a few months?
Definitely. I think if you ask anybody they will be like, ‘Finally, some cricket!’ None of us were prepared for this (break). It happened all of a sudden. We were like, ‘OK, this might go on for a month or so max’, but the wait kept getting longer. It started testing our patience. So everybody will be super excited to be back in that team atmosphere.
Did you miss the cricket or was it a welcome break?
It was a blessing in disguise coming after the World Cup (in Feb-March), because after losing a big World Cup final, it’s never easy to come back to the game mentally and emotionally. A lot of things are inside your head which nobody knows. It takes time for a player to get back to that mental state. So it was good at first, but now it’s just too long!
With dates clashing with the WBBL, the Women’s T20 Challenge is set to be without some top foreign stars. How much of a difference will their absence make even though it might just be a handful of players?
Even those 4-5 players make a huge difference, because you’re getting quality—the best of Australia, England and all their players. Sadly, we’ll miss out on them this time due to the clash with WBBL. But if you look at the positives, it’s amazing for women’s cricket in India because finally they are showing us that we are on the way to having a full-fledged IPL for women. And, maybe, some other players from the domestic circuit will get an opportunity to play with all of us. That can help us identify new talent in India, which is going to help add to the bench strength.
What are your gains from playing with and against the foreign players in these leagues?
It makes a huge difference. These are people who have rich experience and you’re getting to be with them and learn. They don’t even need to come and tell you but by just being around them you pick up so much—observing them and seeing how they prepare physically or with regards to the mindset. Cricket is changing so rapidly, everything is getting faster so you get to understand that this is how it’s going to be. That also helps us grow. We have something in front of our eyes to motivate us to get better every time.
Going back to the World Cup, the young team did a good job of reaching the final. Do you believe there is potential in this bunch to be a world champion team?
I think our team had a really good tournament, except for the final (against Australia). And if you measure the average age of our squad, it was in the early 20s (India’s squad was the youngest among all teams in the tournament). So there is a lot of potential in our team. The more we play, the results will get better. For us as a team, the only important thing that we need to work on is executing our plans well under pressure. If you compare us with Australia, they executed all their plans better that day—be it batting, bowling or fielding—whereas we weren’t good enough on that particular day. It’s always a learning experience, and I strongly believe that failures teach you more than success. Definitely, we want to win the World Cup but sometimes what you learn from failure you’ll never learn from success. So I’m sure every single person has gone back, thought about it and worked upon aspects they realised needed improvement in their game. And I’m sure this team will return even better than what we were before.
Personally it wasn’t one of your best tournaments with the bat, scoring 85 runs in five matches. What were your biggest takeaways from it?
It wasn’t the kind of World Cup I wanted it to be. There are a lot of aspects I’ve realised I need to work on. The other thing what I also could do better was to take the responsibility to see the team through. It’s important for me to understand my role and make sure that I’m there till the end to take my team to victory. So, these are a few things I’ll surely work on and bounce back. There is always something to get better at, whether it’s your skill or mindset.
Do you feel that pressure of expectation so early in your career drives you more or weighs you down a bit?
Honestly, it drives me to get better. All of us are humans, so sometimes it does happen that I give more focus to those expectations. But it’s a journey where I am realising how to enjoy these pressure moments and the responsibility. I’d spoken to Smriti (Mandhana) too about this, and she said that they expect only from people whom they know have the capacity to deliver. So, if you put your thoughts from that perspective, it changes everything. I realised that people expect things from me because I’m good enough. Rather than pressure, it becomes a motivation to go out there and do better.