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We want to make amends this time: Amita

With the self-confidence that comes naturally to any normal 22-year-old,she dreamt of conquering the world,and almost did...

Written by Daksh Panwar | New Delhi |
February 25, 2009 12:12:44 am

Now more matured as bowler,India women’s team vice-captain determined to cross the ‘final’ hurdle

With the self-confidence that comes naturally to any normal 22-year-old,she dreamt of conquering the world,and almost did. Amita Sharma did her bit with an all-round show — one for 39 and 22 runs — but could not prevent India from crumbling in the World Cup final against Australia at Centurion four years back.

As the team gear up for another edition of the quadrennial event beginning Down Under next month,Sharma,now 26 and India vice-captain,is a more mature player. She hasn’t,however,outgrown the desire to lift the cup that slipped out of her fingers last time around.

“The competition will be tough — England,New Zealand and,of course,Australia who are hosting the event this time,” she points out,when asked what are India’s chances at the World Cup. “But we are confident we can go the distance this time. We want to make amends,” she adds.

But it’s easier said than done. The fact that India lost badly when they last toured Down Under late last year doesn’t lend necessary credence to the pre-event rhetoric. Sharma,however,chooses to see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty.

No worries
“We couldn’t play to our potential and lost the series 5-0. But there are positives to take from it also,however few. Let’s not forget that we’ll now have a better idea of the conditions over there. At a personal level,I couldn’t take too many wickets,but did score a few handy runs,” she says.

That inadvertently points to the fact that Sharma,who had started as a bowler and remains one of the key members of the Indian bowling attack,has been faring better with the bat of late,a fact she readily admits to.

“My performance as a batswoman has been satisfactory,but my bowling hasn’t been that great. But I’m working hard on it and trying to focus on my line and length,” says Sharma who,with 13 wickets,was the second highest wicket taker in the 2005 World Cup.

“I was fairly successful in South Africa (2005),but I feel I’ve matured as a bowler. I’m mentally a lot tougher now. I now know how to come back after being hit,” she says.

Bowling as unit
Even as Sharma struggles to be back among the wickets soon,she knows India’s bowling looks better than ever,at least on paper. “We have a very good attack. Besides Jhulan (Goswami) — who’s also the captain — and me,we have a good medium pacer in Snehal Pradhan. In the slow bowling department,there’s Gauhar Sultana. So we have a balanced line-up,” she says.

Right mix
And batting? “There’s Mithali Raj and Anjum Chopra,then we have all-rounders in abundance. We’ve the right mix of youth and experience,it’s just about clicking at the right time,” says Sharma. Four years after the near-miss,it’s difficult to disagree.

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