The Indian women’s cricket team has been guilty of losing knock out matches at global events far too many times and Lisa Sthalekar, the former Australia captain who knows a lot about winning, feels it can only break the jinx by getting over the line in a high-stake game.
Over the past couple of years, India has stretched Australia to the limit in bilaterals as well as ICC events but it has not been enough to end their title drought in world events.
Both at the T20 World Cup this year and the Commonwealth Games in 2022, India had Australia on the mat before throwing it away.
Australia ruled the game when Sthalekar was playing and the Meg Lanning-led side has taken that dominance to invincible levels.
“When I was playing and it is the same now, the Australian team believes it can win from any situation, simply because it has done it in the past. I can talk about my generation. At my state team New South Wales, we used to win national titles regularly and there were times we should not have won but we managed to somehow.
“So once you have that belief, it is very hard to train and coach that. You got to be put in those situations and you need to come out of it successfully to start to believing that (you can win from any situation).
“For India, they have been this close so many times, they just need to get over the line and the tide will change,” Sthalekar told PTI.
The 43-year-old Pune-born cricketer believes a bigger pool of players will help India get more competitive on the field.
“Besides the WPL (Women’s Premier League), potentially if they can put together an India A side that travels that will be an important stepping stone to creating a bucket of players who are pushing for selection at the highest level.
“Once there is a big influx for fighting for positions, then this Indian team would go to the next level. They are the one side that pushes Australia regularly. With more competitive cricket regularly, whether state or WPL or A side, you might see them win those crucial moments in an ICC event.”
Would like to see more uncapped Indians put their hands up in next WPL
Though the inaugural Women’s Premier League was a big success, there were not many Indian domestic players whose performances stood out. Sthalekar, who was a member of the support staff in the UP Warriorz franchise, expects more uncapped players to shine in the second edition.
“You look at how WPL was run. You look at the IPL teams such as Delhi (Capitals), RCB and Mumbai (Indians) and the infrastructure that they have, no doubt those players will benefit from being involved in a setup like that.
“Not to stay that their state setup is not good enough but it will add another layer to it. Men’s IPL, historically, we have seen that it has taken a few years and I would imagine WPL would follow a similar path, but I would love to see a few more domestic players to put their hands up in the next edition.” She would also like to see home-and-away games being played from the next edition. The first season was held across two venues in Mumbai due to logistical reasons.
“It was an exciting opportunity to see Indian players, especially the domestic ones. The domestic players all of a sudden saw the game played at that level. They mixed with international players and the lessons they have learnt, no doubt, they will learn from that and go higher with their training.” \
On who should be the next India head coach, Sthalekar added: “Whether the coach is Indian or a foreigner, that person should be able to take the Indian team to the next level. There needs to be a few finishing touches put and I have no doubt the Indian team will be world beaters,” she added.
The BCCI has shortlised the candidates for the top job and the Cricket Advisory Committee is expected to pick the coach before the series against Bangladesh next month.
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