Our failures don’t define us, says Sneh Rana as Gujarat Giants looks to turn tide in WPL 2024

Not much went the Giants’ way in 2023 as the outfit finished dead last. Frustrating results and an injury to her fingers notwithstanding, Sneh’s confidence never wavered as she carried her team through a trying first attempt in the tournament.

Published : Feb 23, 2024 07:50 IST , CHENNAI - 5 MINS READ


Team in crisis? Call Sneh Rana. Remember India’s one-off Test in 2021 against England in Bristol? The host had enforced the follow-on and put India under the pump, looking set to chase a miniscule target to close out a famous win at home. But in its path stood Sneh. Her defiant unbeaten 80 and dogged 104-run stand with Taniya Bhatia slowly snuffed out any ounce of joy the English side had coming into the final day of play. The duo batted India to a fighting draw, a result that vindicated her addition to the national set up after seven long years of watching from the sidelines, first due to poor form and then an injury to her knee.

Over the years since, Sneh has been the one to turn to for firefighting in crunch situations. Last year’s Women’s Premier League was no exception. Playing for Gujarat Giants, the team hit a massive roadblock when skipper Beth Mooney had to limp off the field after an injury to her calf in after facing just three deliveries in the chase against eventual champion Mumbai Indians. Sneh was the perfect bridge between a side packed with Australian stars and talented homegrown talent.

Balancing act

“Leadership is not new for me as I have led sides before. The challenge was to lead different players from different countries and backgrounds,” Sneh told Sportstar ahead of the WPL’s second edition. Sneh has led the Railways successfully and being a part of team thinktanks across the spectrum due to her experience and adaptability.

“I had to identify their strengths and use that in our strategy and quickly too. Learnings from the first season were largely about adaptability and what kind of changes I can bring in a format as short as T20s. Our opponents had teams with a diverse set of players, some of whom we’ve never played against at any level. So how to prepare for them and do so successfully was something I learnt so much about last time,” she added.

Not much went the Giants’ way in 2023 as the outfit finished dead last. Frustrating results and an injury to her fingers notwithstanding, Sneh’s confidence never wavered as she carried her team through a trying first attempt in the tournament. The experience has helped the team stay pragmatic as they gear up for a fresh start.

“Victory and defeat doesn’t have to be linked to our confidence. The team environment was always positive. Our failures didn’t define us. As a team, we’re taking things one day at a time. We’re not thinking about the final or the knockouts or getting ahead of ourselves by any means. We’ll take it in parts,” she said.

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One step at a time

Sneh’s demeanour betrays no emotions. She’s the one always bringing the unit together, choreographing dance steps to the latest tracks out there and making friends among teammates and opponents alike. The embers of disappointment or regret from the WPL experience in Mumbai, if any, were doused by a rather positive year after it. She helped her domestic sides to a few title triumphs and finished the year with a player of the match award from India’s first-ever Test triumph against Australia.

Her performances bode well for a team heading into a T20 World Cup a few months after the WPL ends. Sneh has not been part of T20I mix since the semifinal of the 2023 ODI World Cup against Australia, where India suffered a heartbreaking five-run loss in Cape Town.

“The only thing in my control is the month I have in the WPL. I can’t control the way selections happen or anything else beyond what I can do with bat and ball so my focus is going to be on the same. If I do well, potentially, the results of it will be good. So whether I make it in the World Cup squad or not is something I’m leaving to time,” Sneh said with a smile.

Aged 27 during the Test against England three years ago, the tag of being a potential late bloomer came Sneh’s way. She knows the perils of age being one’s first identifier in an ecosystem that is packed with players bursting onto the scene in their teens. This edition of the WPL, however, has a number of players gearing up for their tournament debut who belong to the 30-and-above bracket.

“First of all, hats off to their dedication. If you’re dedicatedly pursuing something without recognition and still passionate to keep at it, it is definitely praiseworthy. Age really isn’t a criteria we should use anymore. When players are fit, that is all that should matter. We have so many examples. Look at Ekta Bisht. Even at 38, she is so quick on the field and is a cut above the rest,” Sneh underlined.

She also finds herself in familiar territory with healthy representation from the Indian domestic scene in the tournament.

“I like the fact that so many domestic players are coming in to these spheres. I like interacting with these players because they come with a lot of confidence. They are constantly asking us questions about how to improve and what they can do differently in certain situations. Interacting with these players, you can breathe easy that the future of Indian cricket is very bright,” she signed off.

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