The Indian women’s cricket team embarks on a fresh phase with Harmanpreet Kaur, the T20 skipper, also handed the ODI leadership for the tour of Sri Lanka starting on June 23. India will be without the recently retired Mithali Raj and seasoned pacer Jhulan Goswami as they look to bounce after a poor ODI World Cup in New Zealand, failing to reach the semi-finals.
The tour, comprising three T20s and ODIs each, will provide a chance to watch the performances before the team for next month’s Birmingham Commonwealth Games—it will be a T20 competition—is finalised. The team attended a five-day camp at the National Cricket Academy, Bengaluru before flying out to Sri Lanka.
“We have a great combination. It is the first time we are going to play without our seniors and I think it is a great opportunity for all of us to build a team. We have done great preparation during this NCA camp. Though the time we got was not much, we are in a good space. We will look to give an opportunity to young players who can bowl 10 overs for us. We are trying to do some little things, we did work on them in this camp also,” Kaur said in a virtual media interaction on Saturday ahead of the tour.
The T20Is will be played in Dambulla and the ODIs in Pallekele.
Talking about the cricket the team will adopt in the coming months, Kaur said, “We did set some goals during the World Cup where we were looking to score 300 runs, but we were able to get 270-280. We will look to score more than 300 runs; we do have some players who are playing really good cricket. If we set bigger targets, we can look for something bigger. That is what we are going to do in the batting department.”
Kaur was India’s most successful player in the ODI World Cup, but her numbers were not that good before that. She will have to be India’s premier batter, handle leadership responsibilities and also bowl off-spin.
“I am very keen on doing well with bat and ball. I want to score a lot many runs for India. I have not bowled much in recent series but will bowl a lot now. In fact, I want to encourage others also if they are keen on showing their all-round skills on the field,” said Kaur.
Jemimah Rodrigues returns to the T20 squad along with Radha Yadav while Harleen Deol comes in for the ODIs. On what India are want to achieve in the Sri Lanka series and Commonwealth Games, coach Ramesh Powar said, “We are looking for consistency, at (building) a winning habit. For that, we all came together as captain, coach, and vice-captain. We have already spoken to BCCI and VVS Laxman (NCA head). We are trying to work on our fielding and fitness and take our players to the next level. That is the immediate goal. We want to win World Cups, but it is important that you build a squad which can compete in every condition and against every opposition.”
The team also has less experienced but talented medium-pacers like Renuka Thakur, Meghana Singh and Pooja Vastrakar while Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey are no more in the picture. Powar said all-rounder Sneh Rana, who did well in the World Cup, has been rested for Sri Lanka and is at the NCA working on her fitness.