India ended up as runners-up in the previous edition of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup after a heartbreaking loss against hosts Australia but this time around they look like a more settled unit with firepower balanced by calm and composed players and a blend of youth and experience that makes India a team to watch out for.
South Africa is a special place for India as it was back in 2007 that India under the captaincy of MS Dhoni guided the young team to glory in a memorable T20 World Cup. 2023 has already been a remarkable year for Team India as the U19 team reached the pinnacle of success winning the inaugural U19 Women’s T20 World Cup. Harmanpreet Kaur has shared how this will be playing in their mind and that South Africa has been a happy, hunting ground.
Writing in her column for ICC, she said, “As for South Africa, it has several good memories for Indian fans, and we are hoping to bring them more cheer. Our men’s team played the final of the 2003 World Cup there and the women’s team followed by making the final in 2005. The Indian men’s team then did one better by winning the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007. Will we be able to emulate them once again? Only time will tell, but we definitely are aiming to do that!”
She also reflected on how the last T20 World Cup saw India on the losing side but the fact that 86,174 spectators thronged the stadiums is something that was very special and is quite inspirational as the team begins their journey. Played on International Women’s Day, the match served as a massive impetus for women’s cricket globally. She also dwelled on how that match was the turning point for women’s cricket and merely thinking of the game gives her goosebumps. Harmapreet Kaur who has featured in all T20 World Cups played so far has seen the evolution of the game from close quarters and that the growth of the game has been nothing short of phenomenal.
Acknowledging how Australia perhaps comes in to the tournament boasting of such a strong team, she asserted how the other teams have elevated their games and that the gap has significantly reduced and that this World Cup will be “ultra-competitive”. She is confident of India’s chances as she reflected on India’s recent performances in multi-nation tournaments and how they’re an outfit that has challenged the best of the best.
While talking about the duo of Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh, she said, “We have senior players as well as young guns like Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh, who are fresh from the Indian team’s victory at the Under-19 World Cup, play an attractive brand of cricket and now also have enough experience of top-class cricket. We have depth in batting and enough variety in bowling with Renuka Singh stepping up well in the pace department to do what is required against top teams. We have been preparing well too. We won the Asia Cup and silver in the Commonwealth Games in recent months. A home series against Australia in December further gave us the opportunity to test ourselves and try our combinations against a top side. Though we lost the series 4-1, there were enough thrills in the series for the thousands who thronged the Mumbai stadiums. The attendance in those matches also reflected the growing attention the women’s game has been able to attract in recent times”.
She concluded on an optimistic note that India will have to put all their learnings and experiences to work, not get overwhelmed in pressure situations, remain focussed and trust their processes as she has confidence in their abilities to be remembered as a “world-beating Indian side”.
Quotes are sourced from ICC’s Media Zone
I am a first year postgraduate student pursuing a MA in Media and Communication Studies at Christ University, Bengaluru. I am a podcaster, blogger and an avid cricket fan. When not glued to cricket matches, you can find me submerged in books and thinking about cricket all the time.