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“I Am Hoping I Am Better Equipped This Time Around” – Shikha Pandey On Her Return To The Indian Team

Veteran India speedster Shikha Pandey has made a comeback to the Indian team and is expected to play a crucial role for India in the upcoming T20 World Cup in South Africa. The 33-year-old Shikha Pandey is the first and only Indian Air Force Officer to play cricket for India. She has won many matches for the Women in Blue over the years.

She formed a formidable partnership with the legendary Jhulan Goswami and bamboozled many batters. However, she was dropped from the side after playing on the tour to Australia in October 2021. The experienced campaigner did not get demoralized and went back to domestic cricket. She also spent time with legendary Australian cricketer Belinda Clark and that also helped her in her bid to make a comeback.

Pandey recently revealed how she took one day at a time and set short-term goals during her time outside the Indian team.

She told PTI, “I try to take one day at a time. Short term goals help me a lot. There is always pressure to perform and I am hoping I am better equipped this time around.”

She said she received positive feedback from her coaches at the zonal after doing well on the domestic circuit.

“I did well in the domestic circuit this season and was happy with how I was going. I got a very positive feedback from my coaches at Zonals and challengers. Yeah I was pleasantly surprised,” the speedster again shared.

The right-arm pacer also credited her teammates from Goa for supporting her during her time away from the national team.

“I have always loved coming back and playing for my state side. Even when I wasn’t away on international duties, I would never miss a chance to play alongside my state teammates. I have some close friends in the team and the bond just got stronger. We have some absolute superstars in Goa side and I can’t wait for them to make it big in future,” Shikha Pandey stated.

What has Shikha Pandey changed in her game?

Known for her big inswingers, Shikha Pandey wants to consistently hit those lengths. She has worked hard to achieve the same.

“I have worked hard to hit those lengths consistently and stay in the moment- attitude (in the last 12 months). I have always believed hard work doesn’t go waste and the situations you are put in don’t define you but the decisions you take to deal with them do.

My family, well wishers, coaches, support staff and administration at GCA and my state teammates. All their help was massive (when I was not part of the team),” Shikha further added.

When will Team India begin their journey to South Africa?

Shikha Pandey is currently in the NCA in Bangalore, along with other players of the Indian women’s team. The Harmanpreet Kaur-led side will be leaving for South Africa on January 11. They are scheduled to play a tri-series ahead of the T20 World Cup.

West Indies and hosts South Africa will be competing in the tri-series alongside India. This tournament will allow for some great last-minute preparations for the teams ahead of the highly-anticipated T20 World Cup.

India will hope to use the experience they gained while losing their home T20 series against Australia 1-4. The likes of Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma would love to get accustomed to the conditions in South Africa during the tri-series that gets underway on January 19.

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