It is hard to imagine an Indian women's cricket team without Jhulan Goswami. The vastly experienced Indian pacer has been an integral part of the side for years and now, as India gears up for yet another World T20 campaign, it will miss Jhulan — who has quit the shortest format a few months ago.
But then, Jhulan will make it a point to keep a close eye on her teammates. Knowing all the players inside out, Jhulan says that the initial target for the team will be to qualify for the last-four stage and then, build it from there.
Q) What is India's chances in the World T20?
A) The team is doing well for the last few months under Harman (Harmanpreet Kaur)’s captaincy. It has shaped very well and she is leading the team from the front. There are quite a few senior players in the side like Mithali (Raj), so that will be a boost. Harman, Smriti (Mandhana) and Veda (Krishnamurthy) have played in overseas leagues, so they have a huge experience. To cap it all, there are some really good youngsters and the side has a perfect blend of youth and experience. I am hoping this time the side will go further and of course, the first target will be to come to top-four.
How has coach Ramesh Powar helped the team shape up?
Ramesh is doing really well as a coach. He is using his experience and has made it a point to explain the bowlers on what line and length they should maintain. For our team, spinners are the key. They will definitely try out a few new combinations as they did in the last few matches against Sri Lanka and Australia A. That combination worked well. Ramesh and the support staff play a key role in shaping the team well. They maintain the calmness in the dressing room, which is very important during a tournament like the World Cup.
Your thoughts on captain Harmanpreet Kaur?
Harman loves to take responsibility and is very aggressive on the field. She, Ekta, Poonam Yadav, Mithali, Smriti — they all are experienced and definitely, they will back her to the tilt.
How should India approach while playing in a tournament like the World Cup?
In a tournament like the World Cup or World T20, it is important to play as a team and not focus on individual performances. If you rely on individual players, you may not go far. This is a very important tournament for the team as after 2017, the expectations are higher. After last year’s World Cup, people started taking the team seriously.
Why this World T20 is significant for women's cricket?
This is the first time the ICC is conducting the World T20 separately and it is a big thing for women’s cricket. There will be pressure, but I am sure we will fare well. Everyone has talent, it is all about how you handle it. It is important to hold the nerves.
How will the wickets behave in the Windies?
It was a true sporting wicket, where batswomen and bowlers both got help. In Windies, the wind is a major factor and that affects your batting. You may plan to hit it hard but changes in wind direction may not allow playing the right shots. You have to be calculative. Weather is going to be tricky. Otherwise, wicket should be good for all the players. If you are a wrist spinner, you can turn the ball well. In ICC event, one usually expects good wickets. In 2010 World TO (the only time India made it to the semifinals), the wicket was flat and hard. In our tour to West Indies in 2012, it was a bit slow. But, I am sure in the World T20, wickets will be good. I am waiting to see a good tournament.