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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Women’s Cricket World Cup: ‘Lacked killer instinct in 2005, 2017’s India unstoppable’

The losing finalists of the 2005 Women’s Cricket World Cup say they lacked killer instinct but the 2017 Indian cricket team looks an unstoppable lot.

cricket Updated: Jul 23, 2017 12:43 IST
Shalini Gupta
Shalini Gupta
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
India will take on England in the Women's Cricket World Cup final at Lord’s on Sunday.
India will take on England in the Women's Cricket World Cup final at Lord’s on Sunday.(Reuters)

There is a marked difference between the current Indian women’s team playing in England and the one that played the final of the World Cup in 2005 against Australia in South Africa.

Although both teams were led by Mithali Raj, the 2005 team had punched above its weight by reaching the final. This team, however, is capable of winning the title and wouldn’t settle for anything less at Lord’s on Sunday.

Former opener Jaya Sharma, who was a member of the 2005 squad, said, “A group of 30 cricketers were groomed and trained for two years for this World Cup.”

READ | World Cup win will transform women’s cricket in India: Shanta Rangaswamy

Jaya, who is also a selector with the Delhi District Cricket Association, recalled the indifferent treatment meted out to the 2005 batch back then.

“We were given sub-standard accommodation as compared to what the hosts, England, Australia and New Zealand got. The Asian teams were not even given air-conditioned rooms and it was very hot. This made us furious and determined to do well in the tournament. We decided that we will go for the kill and reach the final to show our calibre.”

Australia beat India by 98 runs in the final to take the title.

READ | Women’s Cricket World Cup: Heather Knight aiming for ‘perfect’ final vs India

“I remember, we got a cheque of Rs.9,000 each after we reached India. We played nine matches and the women’s cricket association gave us Rs.1,000 per match. Now things are way better and the way Indians have played in England, there is nothing that can stop them,” added Jaya, who has played 77 ODIs, one Test and one T20I for India.

Sudha Shah was the coach of the Indian team back then.

“The present team has had more facilities and international exposure. I find no reason why India cannot beat England in the final. History should be created. Remember, after Kapil Dev lifted the World Cup in 1983, a new era began for cricket in India,” said Jaya.

Left-arm spinner Neetu David was also part of the 2005 Indian team.

READ | Women’s World Cup: How India should guard against being tripped up by England

“We got too excited on reaching the final and choked. Reaching the final was our main target, I guess. We made a statement through that. We were underdogs but we did well to reach the final. Mithali was a kid back then. Having more experience than her, we all supported her and helped her with the captaincy. She has matured beautifully as a cricketer. She is able to inspire the team and other aspiring women cricketers. We could not win the World Cup, but I see this team doing it on Sunday at Lord’s,” said Neetu, who is the fourth highest wickettaker in women’s cricket with 141 scalps from 97 games.

For Neetu, the 19-year-old all-rounder Deepti Sharma has been the find of the World Cup.

Another 2005 World Cup team member Anju Jain, who had been the India wicket-keeper for a decade and also team’s coach from 2011 to 2013, feels a title win will help Indian cricket.

READ | ICC Women’s World Cup: India’s strengths and weaknesses ahead of final

“If the girls come back with the title, avenues will open up for them. The BCCI has been planning a T20 league for the past 2-3 years. Maybe it will see the light of day soon.

She feels India will win the title.

“Maybe we lacked that killer instinct in 2005. But the way Harman, Smriti, Mithali, Veda have played, no one can stop them from becoming champions,” said Anju, who played eight Tests and 65 ODIs for India.

First Published: Jul 23, 2017 09:22 IST