What really matters in a big event like ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 or otherwise is the kind of mental state the team is in and more than that how a team is able to perform on a particular day – match by match.
The worst or biggest turnaround might happen for team England fans. Even if it’s not very obvious it’s translucently visible that team England is under tremendous pressure to retain the title of ODI champions which was handed over to them on a platter by some shabby batting by team India especially the middle order in the 2017 finals. The recent ODI series loss (0-3) to Australia would have already aggravated the pressure.
The shaky batting performance over the last few months and the fact that as many as 10 players in the squad will be participating in the World Cup for the first time might be the weaklings for the current champions. Captain Heather Knight carries a lot of weight on her shoulders right now to retain the title.
Sophie Devine has much to think, plan and execute. New Zealand have the advantage of playing at home supported by the great form that captain Devine is in and the oozing confidence of dashing all-rounder, Amelia Kerr combined with veterans like Suzie Bates and Lea Tahuhu who can be dangerous on their day for any opponent. But in all probability, it may not be a champion team at the end of the World Cup even though it might be able to make it to the semi-finals.
I have been watching the preparation videos of various teams and going through statements of players and coaches including team Australia. Various players of the Australian team time and again have been stating ”we have put the loss of 2017 World Cup semi-finals behind us“, but it comes across as “repeated self-assurance” rather than confidence of the unit.
Yes, you can not underestimate Meg Lanning’s team but I sense some kind of defensiveness rather than progressiveness between the lines. It’s still hurting and bothering them and this baggage could be the biggest obstacle for the Aussies. Yes, it’s great to have three of the ICC ranked number 1 players in the team (in ODIs) – in batter (Alyssa Healy), in bowler (Jess Jonassen), and in an all-rounder (Ellyse Perry) but they will have a lot of work to do to justify their “Number One” rankings in this World Cup especially if the Australian women want to lift the trophy. But their biggest shortcoming is Meg Lanning’s vulnerabilities in captaincy, combined with under pressure bowling by Australian women, especially when the opponents are attacking their world-famous bowling.
On the other side, Team Pakistan looks capable of turning things around but the real surprise is likely to be brought in by team India at the end of the tournament.
The gradual rise in the confidence and performance of each player, supported and backed consistently by captain Mitali Raj and ever-enthusiastic Jhulan Goswami, is evident.
Besides the performances in recent matches by Raj equally supported by aggressive and unpredictable Harmanpreet Kaur, talented Richa Ghosh, Smriti Mandhana and all-round performance by Deepti Sharma, team India has also found backable players in Sneh Rana, Pooja Vastrakar and Yastika Bhatia. The fearless Yastik Bhatia looks more apt for a big event than a Shafali Verma whose current form and performance is deteriorating and is a matter of concern.
All in all here’s my Top 4:
England – Semi -finalist
New Zealand- Semi -finalist
Australia – Finalist
India- Finalist – Winners ? Depends on what you really visualized day and night !!!
Minoti Desai is a former India Test and ODI cricketer. She is also the author of the book “She The Cricketer”. This is an exclusive Column by Minoti Desai for FemaleCricket.com where she would express her thoughts around Team India’s campaign for the Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022
Minoti Desai is a former India Test and ODI cricketer. She is also the author of the book “She The Cricketer”