Ahead of the Test against England, Indian vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur has admitted that the management has never tried tinkering too much with ‘natural player’ Shafali Verma. While stating that they didn’t have too much red-ball practice, Harmanpreet trusted the mentality to make a difference.
Seven years after their last Test, the Indian women’s team return to playing the longest format, against England away from home. In the last seven years, the women’s team have been consistently been involved in white-ball setups, making them one of the strongest teams in the world. One player that has stood out for the Indian team, has been the youngster Shafali Verma.
The attacking opener has already established herself as one of the best batters in the shortest format but facing the red-ball, the challenge would be starkly different. However, Indian vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur admitted that they have never tried tinkering too much with her technique and stated that to ‘burden her’ with thoughts isn’t the right thing to do.
"We've never tried tinkering too much with Shafali because she is a natural player, and if you try talking too much technique or game planning with her, she can get disturbed because she is only 17 years old. To burden her with too many thoughts isn't the right thing,” Kaur said in the press conference.
"All of us try to create a good environment for her to be able to feel less pressured and be able to enjoy her cricket well. She was looking great in the nets, and I hope if she gets a chance to play she'll do better," she added.
However, with Test cricket being a different ball game altogether, there were a few questions raised over the team’s practise ahead of the clash against England. Unlike the men’s team, who played an intra-squad warm-up game, the women’s head, spearheaded by Mithali Raj would walk into the Test without any sort of competitive red-ball practise. Harmanpreet puts it out down to ‘mentality’ and stated that the team is in a good frame of mind.
"We may not have much practice under our belt [going into the Test], but mentally [we are prepared]. We've discussed a lot of things so we prepare ourselves well for the match. Even in the nets, we've tried to be in a good frame of mind because when you are happy, other than thinking too much about your batting, you tend to play well."
"Whatever time we've got [since coming out of quarantine], we've tried to simulate match scenarios as much as possible and tried to keep ourselves in the best frame of mind. We didn't get much time to prepare, or any practice games. Individually, it's imperative to adapt to the situation.”
The 32-year-old batter also revealed that as a ‘batting’ group, the Indian women’s team got an opportunity to interact with the men’s vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane.
"I've played only two red-ball matches [in international cricket]. As a batting group when we have a discussion... this time we got a chance to speak to Rahane as well. He shared his knowledge with us as to how to approach batting in the longest format and how one should divide their innings into parts.
However, it isn’t all youth, with the likes of Jhulan Goswami and Mithali still spearheading the team from the bowling and batting departments. Harmanpreet had high praises for Jhulan, stating that she is the go-to bowler for the women’s team.
"She (Jhulan Goswami) is someone who always takes the lead whenever we're on the field. She's always [been] special for us because her quota [of overs] is [important]. She will always give us breakthroughs whenever we need. Not only her but all the bowlers are very important because in Test matches you need breakthroughs, and I think she will be fantastic in this match also."