India women’s cricket team head coach Ramesh Powar believes the mixture of youth and experience will be their biggest asset going into the ICC Women’s World T20 2018.
“Experience and the youth are the strengths of this team. The way they have gelled is the most important thing for us as a support staff. The strength is that they are playing for each other, enjoying their performances and they are happy with what they are doing,” Powar said in an interview with FirstPost.
Powar, whose contract as coach of the team will run out after the World Cup, also believes his team’s spinners will be key to their chances at the World T20.
“The spinners are our strength going into the World Cup. If our spinners click, everything will be fine. Obviously, batting too is our strength. But the moment our spinners chip in, we win it very easily so my job is to look after the spinners from day one.”
Powar further added that he has focused on spending a lot of time with the team’s spinners in a bid to not only improve their skills but instill self-belief in them.
“I try and spend lot of time with the spinners because you have to create the self-belief in them that they can win us the game rather than just the batters because it's been said over and over again that batters win us the game. But I think it's both the groups that win us the games.”
Two of the key aspects to a successful T20 side is having a deep batting line-up as well as a few power hitters. As of now, Powar is happy with the way the batting line-up is structured.
“We've changed our batting order in such a way that we get depth in our batting. We basically open with Mithali (Raj) and Smriti (Mandhana). Jemimah (Rodrigues) bats at three, Tanya (Bhatia) is four, Anuja (Patil) is five, so these five girls address first 10 overs.
“Then we have Harmanpreet (Kaur), Veda (Krishnamurthy), Pooja Vastrakar, Radha Yadav and Deepti Sharma these five address last 10 overs. There are 10 players who can bat. So we have planned in such a way that the pressure is less on the batting unit.”
However, he is quick to admit that power hitting is something the team needs to work on despite the likes of Harmanpreet and Mandhana being more than capable of going big.
“Honestly, it (power hitting) doesn't come overnight. There are some players like Harmanpreet, Mithali, Smriti who can clear the ground. But it takes time, it takes some learning to do power hitting.
“We have introduced power hitting. But it will take some time to get that shape and habit. We try and do it in close nets and open grounds. But it will take some time. It's not easy, the actual scenarios are different than drills.”
Another aspect that Powar feels the Indian team needs to improve on is their fitness.
“We are not the fittest side in the world. And they are naive to fitness things so we will try and get those things going in future. It will take some time. If we can take the fitness level two notches up then it will help us.”
The coach still remains confident that India can do well in the tournament and stated that his side will bank on their skills and mental toughness in an attempt to go the distance.
“Skills and mental toughness. That's what is important for me. Because when you get hit for a six, the next ball will tell me how good you are. That is mental strength. That's what we worked on.”
“We don't criticise our players, we try and tell them that if you get hit or get out, we are looking at the comebacks rather than just your skills. That's what the main focus is on.”