Meeting badminton star P.V. Sindhu and Olympic champion in Javelin throw Neeraj Chopra, apart from making the country proud, is on the mind of India head coach Ramesh Powar as the women’s team are all set to participate in 2022 Commonwealth Games with women’s cricket and T20 format making their debut in the multi-nation event.
As cricket makes a return to the Commonwealth Games for the first time in 24 years, excitement was evident in the way Powar and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur spoke in the pre-departure virtual press conference. Powar expressed his wish to make the team meet Sindhu and Chopra if they find time at the Games Village to learn what makes the duo high-performing achievers in their own disciplines.
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“Quite honestly, if there is an opportunity, we all would like to meet P.V. Sindhu and Neeraj Chopra. Both of them have set the bar high, I would love to go into their minds. I am curious about their preparation, and the way they handle the pressure of the expectations of billion people, it is commendable. We as a group would like to exchange some notes with these two top-class athletes."
The prospect of playing in the Commonwealth Games will be a new experience for Harmanpreet & Co., starting off with walking with the whole Indian contingent in the opening ceremony, interacting with athletes from other disciplines and if possible, participating in the closing ceremony too. Harmanpreet has already started to imagine what it would be to feel the Games environment in reality.
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“As we speak, I actually feel as if I am walking on that road (at the opening ceremony). This time, we are going to be a part of the multi-sport event, it is not only about cricket, but there would also be other sports as well. We want to celebrate each and every medal we will win, we all are very excited. We all are looking forward and we cannot wait to be part of this great event."
India will be going into the Commonwealth Games on the back of a 2-1 series win against Sri Lanka. At Edgbaston, the host of women’s T20 event, India are in Group A along with Australia, Pakistan and Barbados. India will kick off their Group A campaign against Australia on July 29 and need to secure at least two wins to get into knockouts for the medal matches.
“We all as cricketers and myself, have watched the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, where we see our nation’s flag flying high. It is a kind of opportunity for all of us to showcase good performance, give our best and make the country proud. This is one of the competitions where you feel that you should put up a good show to give some enjoyment back to the country and make them feel proud about yourself," stated Powar.
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A couple of days ago, England captain Heather Knight had said that the women’s T20 event at Commonwealth Games could prove to be a game changer for women’s cricket. Harmanpreet, too, agrees with the same, especially with cricket pushing for a spot in the Olympics.
“Yes, because as a cricketer we are always wishing to play more cricket and this year, we are getting participation in a multi-sport event. I think that whenever you go to an event, it becomes very important to perform well and to show the capabilities of your team. In the future, if we get to participate in tournaments like this, definitely it is going to be very good for women’s cricket."
The talk about cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics in the future will surely loom around. But for now, India’s focus is on the Commonwealth Games, where they would be soaking in the environment of a multi-game event and get inspired by various athletes to clinch a historic medal in women’s T20 cricket.
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