The serious-looking Sneh Rana is fun off the field. She is witty, loves cracking jokes, but when she is on the field, the off-spinner makes sure that she troubles the opponent batters.
Having featured in 25 T20Is and bagging 24 wickets at an economy rate of 6.21, Rana knows what it takes to handle difficult situations. And as the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League nears, Rana - the vice-captain of Gujarat Giants, a franchise owned by Adani Sportsline - is looking forward to making most of the opportunities that come her way.
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She is excited to be the deputy of Beth Mooney and hopes to learn a lot from her team-mates as the tournament progresses. In a chat with Sportstar on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Giants’ training session at the MIG Cricket Club in Bandra, Rana talks about her expectations from the WPL and what it means for women’s cricket.
Q: The inaugural edition of the WPL is just three days away. This is the moment you all have been waiting for…
A: We are obviously very excited. We all were waiting for the WPL for a long time and finally, it’s going to happen. This tournament will help a lot of women to take up the sport as a profession. In many parts of the country, parents are still apprehensive about allowing girls to play cricket as they think that ‘cricket khel ke kya hoga?’ (What will happen by playing cricket?). But I think the WPL will help in changing that perception and their mindset. That will be good for the sport.
Q: You have been appointed vice-captain of the Gujarat Giants. How do you see that opportunity?
A: When it comes to leadership roles, obviously you need to stay ahead and be proactive. It’s also a learning experience for us. The overseas players, who are joining us, have different ways of approaching things. So, when all of us finally get together and start exchanging thoughts and ideas, we will learn quite a few things from them. As far as I am concerned, this is a huge experience to be the vice-captain of a team in the inaugural edition of WPL. I always look for opportunities, and now that such a huge responsibility has come my way, I would like to put my best foot forward and make the most of the opportunities that come my way.
Q: The franchise league is a different ball game as compared to playing for the national team. How do you plan to adjust to the new set-up?
A: Personally, it is very exciting because such a big event is happening here for the first time. Quite a few Indian players have played in overseas leagues, so when players across regions and countries unite, things become even more exciting. You get to know a lot of things from them.
Q: In franchise cricket, maintaining the right balance is the key. So, keeping that in mind, what have been the initial conversations with the players and also the coaching unit, comprising Mithali Raj and Nooshin Al Khadeer?
A: Conversations have been quite normal and simple - whoever has been given a role, she needs to follow that and execute the plans. There is no added pressure because there will be quite a few senior and junior players. The idea is simple - we want everyone to play to their strengths and fulfil their roles.
Q: The entire tournament will be played across two stadiums in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. How much of an advantage will that be for the teams?
A: Travelling takes a toll because with back to back travel, you often feel tired and in a long tournament, it is always a challenge to play in newer wickets every day and adjust to those conditions. So, with that, there is a possibility of losing the momentum.
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But when you play in just one or two venues, it actually helps you in having a better idea of the surface and you can plan accordingly.
Q: Before joining the Indian team in just-concluded Women’s T20 World Cup, you were out of the side for a while. How did you keep yourself motivated during those few months?
A: (Laughs) Why don’t we look ahead? Well, on a serious note, I just trained hard, worked on a few areas and mental toughness. I never gave up and always remained positive. If you are playing any sport, you have to be mentally strong and only then can you survive for long.