These are difficult times for all of us. The coronavirus pandemic has not only brought life to a standstill, it has also hampered our preparation for next year’s 50-over World Cup.
Usually, we start preparing well in advance for a major tournament. So ideally, our training should have got underway by now for next year’s World Cup. But then, we don’t have much to do under these circumstances.
For players like us who only feature in the 50-over format, it is also challenging because it takes time to peak. It’s not easy to come from a long break and be in perfect form.
We also haven’t played One-Day Internationals since November last year — against the West Indies. After the tour to the Caribbean, our focus shifted to the Twenty20 World Cup, and we were hoping to regroup after the T20 tournament got over.
But there hasn’t been any cricketing activities since March 8 — that was the last time India’s women’s team took the field, against Australia in the final of the T20 World Cup.
Even though we are training constantly, match fitness is something different. So, life will be tough in the post-pandemic period. And the only way to overcome this phase is to be mentally strong.
In order to maintain health and hygiene, there will be quite a few restrictions, the most important being the ban on the use of saliva. As a fast bowler, we are used to using saliva to shine the ball, so it is not easy to change habits overnight. But we need to deal with it and come up with a new innovation. For that, regular practice will be key.
The game will change for sure — there will be no celebrations, teammates need to maintain social distances — but the only positive will be the fact that we will at least play the game again.
The most important factor, however, will be visibility. If the matches are played in empty stadiums, streaming the game on various platforms will be key. That will not only generate interest among fans, but will also help us sustain.
Times are tough, for sure, but I am confident that this phase, too, shall pass.
As told to Shayan Acharya.
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