Harmanpreet Kaur, the captain of the Indian team, stated on Thursday that the squad deserved to win the Asian Games gold medal given their dominance over neighbouring teams, but she also acknowledged that the expectations put some pressure on the team. India, who was competing in their first Asian Games in Hangzhou, lived up to expectations and won the gold medal by defeating Sri Lanka by a score of 19 runs.
“It was a great experience, we played really well. When we left for the Asian Games, we knew our team is pretty strong and we had in mind that we need to prepare like this for future tournaments, We deserved to win the gold,” Harmanpreet Kaur said on the sidelines of a felicitation function organised by the Sports Ministry in Delhi.
“The team performed very well in Hangzhou and we managed to return with the gold. Before leaving we mentally knew that our team is very strong and we can win the gold. We will approach future tournaments with the same mindset and prepare ourselves the same way we did before the Games,” further added the star cricketer.
Harmanpreet Kaur declined to contrast the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games with the gold from Hangzhou, claiming that both emotions were distinct.
“That moment was different because we could have won that match. Despite playing good cricket we got the silver. Here it was completely different because there was different sort of pressure on us as we have done well against the Asian teams. There was extra pressure on us because we have been dominating Asian cricket,” Harmanpreet Kaur again said.
She added that the government’s assistance in helping the cricket teams prepare for the Asian Games was really beneficial.
“I can’t compare her (Jhulan) with anyone” – Harmanpreet Kaur on comparing Titas Sadhu with Jhulan Goswami
“There are a lot of changes. As a sportsperson when you get so much support from all sides, it feels really motivating. This year we witnessed a new thing and that is the government has given us money for preparation. These are the new things which never happened in cricket. As a sportsperson when you know there is not so much financial burden on you, you can play freely and that matters a lot,” she again shared.
The captain refrained from equating budding fast bowler Titas Sadhu with the legendary Jhulan Goswami but acknowledged the young Bengal bowler’s great potential.
“She (Titas) performed very well in Under-19 World Cup. She bowled really great there and whenever she gets a chance she is always ready to bowl for the team,” Harmanpreet Kaur concluded. “I can’t compare her (Jhulan) with anyone but they are from the same state and I think Jhulan is working a lot on her, they keep on talking to each other.”