The Indian women’s team created history in the rainbow nation, as they defeated the hosts in both ODIs and T20I series emphatically. The women’s team was dominating under the tutelage of Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur in both the formats and will now look forward to facing Australia at home.
India’s T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur talked to firstpost.com about that performance and also the changes brought into the game by the new fielding restrictions.
“Somehow I feel it's (new fielding rules) good because it's helping make our game faster," Kaur told Firstpost on the sidelines of the TOISA Awards.
"Earlier it was five fielders outside (the circle) and it was not easy for girls to get 180-190 runs. But now, with the four-fielder rule, it's an advantage. There's a disadvantage also, because while batting you feel easy and when bowling you feel really hard. But I personally like that rule and when you have lots of runs on the board, it's always good whether you are chasing or setting the total," she added.
The India-South Africa series witnessed a record 42 sixes, with Indian players hitting 20 sixes and most of those sixes landed in the stands.
"Whenever we get time, we just go to the centre wicket and practice big shots," Kaur explained about the special training methods. "That practice gave me a lot of confidence, not only to me, but to other players also. They are also hitting long sixes now, and we are not dependent on two or three players who can come up and hit big runs. Everyone is contributing."
She also pointed out that, "Now-a-days, the ODI game is also fast, we just cannot depend on two-three runs per over run rate. It's very fast now and we just take the same method whether its T20 or ODI. We just want to continue that."
India won its second consecutive T20I series under the leadership of Harmanpreet and she said, “I always enjoy (captaincy) because whenever I lead, I always feel like I am always involved in the game. So that always gives me a lot of confidence.”
Harmanpreet Kaur gave a lot of credit to Indian women cricket’s stalwart Mithali Raj, who captains Indian team in ODIs.
"When we are playing ODIs, Mithali di is leading and she is very flexible with us. We play as a unit. In the T20s, we always talk on the ground, discuss and take decisions. Others might see it as two captains, but we work as a team," said Harmanpreet.
Harmanpreet continued, "(Raj's inputs) helped me a lot to do well in the T20 format. Because when she was leading, I always used to go and talk to her whenever she was making the changes and taking decisions. Not only her, but Jhulan (Goswami) di also, because she also has a lot of experience. Whenever I need any help, I always go and ask them. If you see her in the personal life, she never talks too much but when there is something really important, she comes and talks which is always good for our team."
"As a sportsperson, we always want our matches to be shown on television, but our job is playing cricket. We just cannot do things that are beyond our control. We are happy that at least the T20s were broadcast and people watched. The good thing is we won also," Kaur said.
Talking about the Australian series, Harmanpreet Kaur said, “Really excited about it (upcoming series) because both the teams (England and Australia) are very good and we know that it's not going to be easy, there will be high competition and we are ready for that. We have done well in South Africa and hopefully we will continue (the momentum).”
BCCI are thinking of having women exhibition T20 matches during the IPL, to see whether a Women’s IPL will be sustainable or not, in future.
Kaur however knows the limitations and said, “We were expecting it (the women's IPL to start) when the men's IPL started, but we also know that we don't have a bunch of that many good players. We know we have very limited players and we know that whatever the BCCI is doing for us is good for our team, so whatever they have decided, we are happy with that.”
"We are really very excited about it (exhibition matches) because we were always looking for the IPL and finally something is happening now. Hopefully those matches will go well and everyone will love that," Kaur signed off.