India‘s swashbuckling opener Smriti Mandhana has said that the COVID-19 has not impacted women’s cricket more than their male counterparts. India last played in the final of T20 World Cup against Australia earlier this year at the Melbourne Cricket Stadium. The game witnessed a record crowd of over 84,000 people.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed several lives worldwide, this has put every sporting events on a hold. Several series — like India tour of England, Australia tour of South Africa and South Africa tour of England — have been cancelled earlier. However, the cricketing events have recently resumed too and a five-match T20I series between England and West Indies will take place from September 21.
However, Smriti Mandhana remains optimistic about the game despite a long break owing to the COVID-19.
“Well, I can’t say that it (Covid-19 pandemic) has impacted women’s cricket more. Women’s cricket got a good jump after the T20 World Cup in Australia,” Mandhana told IANS in an exclusive interview. “I feel that if the women’s cricket would have happened right after the World Cup then obviously it would be better for the game. Now we have to again start performing and get that interest back.”
The left-handed batter again said that the Indian players had started their training during the lockdown and maintained their fitness training program at their homes as well.
“It is a true fact that we have not played any cricket since the Women’s T20 World Cup final but we all have begun with our training during the lockdown itself. Each one of us are keeping our fitness and performing skill work at home,” said Smriti Mandhana. “The match practice sessions are something that is completely different so will see that later.”
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed the ICC Cricket World Cup until 2022 – which was earlier scheduled to take place in February next year in New Zealand. However, the flamboyant opener feels that the team has been preparing well for the mega event and they have now extra time to prepare for the tournament and work on their goal to lift the trophy.
“We were anyway preparing well since last year for the World Cup had it not been postponed. However, yes now we have got an extra year for the World Cup to prepare. So now things will be more sorted,” she expressed.
The vice-captain of the T20 side has said that captaincy is something which she is not thinking about and currently she is focusing on winning matches for the country. She has so far played 2 Tests, 51 ODIs and 75 T20Is for the country.
“Well, the goal right now for me is to only win matches for my nation and nothing else. Captaincy is something that will happen to you when it has to. I personally haven’t thought about it yet,” Smriti Mandhana concluded.