The 20-year-old holds an average of 15.50 from 15 T20Is at a strike-rate of 93 and is generally judged as a batter who takes time to settle in the crease. The left-hander said that she has been working to dismiss that notion, the results of which have been seen in the recently concluded Challenger Trophy.
Captaining India Red in the competition she led from the front to take them to the final, where they fell four runs short against India Blue. She averaged 31 from five matches in the tournament at a strike rate of 107.82.
“I’ve been practising new shots for the World T20,” said Sharma to icc-cricket.com. “The uppercut, the hook shot, the pull – these are vital in a T20 game. I’m also practising power hitting. I haven’t made any changes to my technique since the 2017 World Cup, but I’m trying to introduce new shots to my game.”
After a poor campaign at the Women’s T20 Asia Cup, in which India lost to Bangladesh in the final, Sharma’s next challenges are the tours to Sri Lanka and the West Indies, and she confident of making an impact. “We’re learning from these matches and our confidence is growing,” she said. “If we carry that confidence to West Indies [for the WT20], it’ll be a plus point for us.”
India are drawn in the same half as Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Ireland in the upcoming T20 World Cup, and progress into the next stage could be a cagey affair for the Women’s World Cup 2017 runners-up. However, Sharma believes recent experiences of playing two of the four teams will prove handy.
“The recent tri-series (against England and Australia in March-April) helped a lot,” said Sharma. “We saw the batters there. If you’re able to read the batter, it’ll help you decide in what areas to bowl. And we saw where the bowlers bowled, too.”
The tour to the Caribbean will be her first to that part of the world. and she will be counting on her seniors, particularly Smriti Mandhana, for guidance. “I’ve heard it’s hot in the West Indies,” said Sharma. “I don’t know what really to expect with the weather. Maybe Smriti can help us since she’s playing in the Super League and there are a few West Indies players there (Stafanie Taylor). I’ll discuss the conditions with her.”
Similar to her teammates, Sharma's life took a massive turn as well after India’s heroics at the 2017 Women’s World Cup. "People’s expectations have gone up after the World Cup," she admitted. "But we will give our best. All the faith people have in us, we will live up to that faith."
First Published: August 22, 2018, 4:37 PM IST