Interview | Cricket

Women’s cricket | Tour Down Under was a success: Raman

Candid observation: W.V. Raman, while praising the efforts put in by the women’s team in Australia, says being overkeen could have affected Harmanpreet, in pic., and Smriti’s performances.

Candid observation: W.V. Raman, while praising the efforts put in by the women’s team in Australia, says being overkeen could have affected Harmanpreet, in pic., and Smriti’s performances.  

Indian women’s team coach says it’s also time to identify a couple of fast bowlers and groom them

A week after returning from the Indian women’s tour of Australia — where Harmanpreet Kaur’s young bunch made it to the final of the tri-series featuring Australia and England and followed it up by zooming into the T20 World Cup final — head coach W.V. Raman recalls the journey with The Hindu. Excerpts:

How would you sum up the tour Down Under?

In both the tournaments, the girls definitely did well. They were in the tri-series against two better sides and in the World Cup, we were placed in a tough group.

To have won all the league games and qualify was quite an achievement given that it’s a young side that’s still on a learning curve in T20s. If you take all this into account, the tour was definitely a success. Yes, winning the final would have been great but these things happen in sport. You can’t help it.

What exactly went wrong in the final? Did the packed house at MCG get to the girls? Or was it the big-match pressure ?

The point is, in a T20 game, you can hardly make a comeback. When the first 30-40 minutes go away from you, it’s very difficult for you to make a comeback.

Just to make a point, when I was with KKR (as assistant coach), we were playing the CLT20 final (in 2014) against CSK. Raina made a mockery of a chase of 180-plus where he got off to a start and never looked back. A similar innings was played by Alyssa Healy. Whatever she tried that day, it came off. All other factors and other reasoning we can think of are just incidental but the long and short of it is that in T20s these things will happen.

Would you say the rise of three teenaged batters is the biggest gain from the tour?

Of course. I mentioned before leaving India that we have players who can go on to become match-winners on their own and the batting side is definitely far well-equipped than it was when I took over.

We have identified the talent and players who can measure up to what is required at the top-level. And also worked on their skills as well as fitness. That gives you a bit of confidence than it did some time ago.

While the spinners continue to come good, the pace bowling, barring Shikha Pandey, remains a concern ahead of the next year’s ODI World Cup…

Spinners have been calling the shots for a couple of years now. We need to identify a couple of fast bowlers and it will take them some time to become consistent performers. It’s not an easy job, bowling fast, especially for Indian girls who are comparatively frail than Caucasian girls. Fast bowling is a lot of hard work, be it male or female. The challenges are going to be slightly more in women’s cricket.

The two senior batters — Harmanpreet and Smriti — had a mediocre World Cup. What would you attribute it to?

I personally felt that they were overkeen to do well. I think once they saw the team perform in the tri-series, they thought this may be a great chance to claim the summit and must have probably felt they needed to up their game.

Sometimes, even for the most experienced or acclaimed performers, a tendency to get overkeen comes in. That was probably the reason because you can’t attribute it to anything else. Both of them have performed, for long, across formats. Perhaps they got overkeen and wanted to do well desperately.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 6:29:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/womens-cricket-tour-down-under-was-a-success-raman/article31085043.ece

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