Harmanpreet Kaur will soon be starting her stint as the captain of the Indian women's cricket team across all formats. She was already the captain of India's T20I team and was recently given the captaincy of their ODI and Test teams after Mithali Raj retired.
After winning the T20I series 2-1, the Indian women's team is now preparing for the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka starting on Friday (July 1).
Ahead of her first series as ODI captain, Kaur has called for drastic improvement in her players’ fitness and their fielding.
Kaur said ahead of the first ODI against Sri Lanka: “I have set some goals for us. Fitness is very important for a player. Skills wise we have coaches but I want to set an example where the players can see me and get motivated to become fit. Fitness and fielding are two things I want my team to improve. If these two aspects are covered then you are the best side.”
On captaincy, she said: “When I'm leading, I feel I am more involved in the game. It always gives me a lot of confidence. Captaincy is something that comes naturally to me when I'm on the field. After leading for a few years, things become easier.
Right now, I don't feel the extra pressure, if I enjoy it as captain the rest can also enjoy it. I am enjoying it more now as I feel I'm free to do want I want to do. When you give players freedom, you can improve more. That is my motive, to give the players freedom so they can express themselves.”
Speaking about the benefit of having a sports psychologist on the team, the skipper said: “Mugdha Bavare ma'am has done a lot for us. During the World Cup she helped me a lot, we need people like her in the team, but sadly she is not traveling with us this time. In the future, we hope someone like her can always travel with us.”
She continued, “We do have skill coaches but having someone you can talk to and share your thoughts, is something you need in your life to clear those blocks. Skill is not going anywhere but when you feel mentally free then you can improve your game and give 100 percent. In the future also we will talk to our staff if we can bring her back and I hope she can travel with us.”
On being asked about Test cricket’s future in Women’s cricket, Kaur said: “In my career, I have only played 2-3 Tests. If we get more games then only we can decide if it has a future or not.”
She signed off by saying, “As a player, we want to play Test cricket because we have grown up watching that format. You can't compare all the formats together, but Test cricket is a different format and has its own level of excitement.”
(With PTI Inputs)