The Indian women’s team, bound for the West Indies to take part in next month’s Women’s World T20, has tried out various permutations and combinations to handle different kinds of pressure in the tournament, team coach Ramesh Powar said on Saturday.
“We tried to put them under pressure during power play and when chasing. The good thing is the youngsters – they are fearless. I don’t feel them succumbing under pressure,” said the former Mumbai and India off-spinner at the pre-departure press conference here.
It was the failure to handle pressure that cost India dear in the July 23, 2017 final of the ICC Women’s 50-over World Cup against hosts England when they collapsed to 219 all out when seemingly all set to reach the target of 229 at 191 for 3.
“This team is more of dominance rather than competing. We tried to put the players under pressure in the last eight games that we played. At times we played only with one seamer to put pressure on the spinners. We let them go through that and come out winners.
“It’s about learning through that pressure,” said Powar who took over as coach in unsavoury circumstances after the players revolted against his predecessor Tushar Arothe.
The team, led by all rounder Harmanpreet Kaur, will commence their campaign with the group lung opener against New Zealand at Guyana on November 9.
India have Pakistan, Ireland and Australia as the other teams in their group B.
Harmanpreet said that the team had prepared well with a series against Australia A, in which different players were tried out and hoped this time around the team members will not repeat the mistakes of 2017.
“Only a few had played in a final earlier. I am hoping we don’t repeat the mistakes we did last time. We got good quality practice. We have been trying a lot of things, wanted to give chances to everyone and whatever was planned we could execute them. Our team has improved, youngsters are contributing,” she said.
“I have told players to develop flexibility in order to bat at any position or bowl at any stage of the innings,” she remarked.
Coach Powar felt slow bowling was one of the outfit’s greatest strengths.
“Our strength is, I guess, spin bowling. We need three bowlers out of five – Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Radha Yadav, Anuja Patil and Deepti Sharma – bowling well. In batting, we we have the experience and we also have young players like Jemimah (Rodrigues). We are well placed.”
Powar agreed it was not an ideal situation for him when he took over as the coach from Arothe, but he was able to communicate well and convey his message to the players in a short time.
“It was not a pleasant situation to walk in as coach, but I have faced these situations as a player for Mumbai. It helped me. When you are building a team from scratch it’s important to communicate well. Team India comes first is the message I conveyed and the players understood what I am talking within a few days.
“We are not here to create leaders, but to create match-winning players and are working towards this end,” he emphasised.
The squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Mithali Raj, Jemimah Rodrigues, Veda Krishnamurthy, Deepti Sharma, Tanya Bhatia (wicket-keeper), Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Anuja Patil, Ekta Bisht, D Hemalatha, Mansi Joshi, Pooja Vastrakar and Arundhati Reddy.