SL vs IND: Team India are all set to take on Sri Lanka in a limited-overs s series, including 3 T20Is and as many ODIs, starting June 23. Before that, India captain Harmanpreet Kaur shared the abundance of top-order batters in the side, saying that when players come into the national side, they should be ready to play in any position. She also confirmed that her players are ready for that challenge as well. Notably, swashbuckling left-hander Smriti Mandhana, talented youngster Shafali Verma, Sabbhineni Meghana and Yastika Bhatia are all top-order batters in India’s 15-player squad.
“We do have many top-order batters, including three to four of them, who can play as openers. But, when it comes to this team, everyone will have the opportunity to showcase their skills,” Harmanpreet Kaur said in the press conference on the eve of the series-opener. “We all are representing our country and whatever opportunity might come at some point, we must make the best use of it. We have many batters who can play at any position. We will try to give everyone the space to bat where they feel comfortable.”
Harmanpreet Kaur also opened up on their preparations for the series. While speaking on India’s poor fielding standards, she said that it is one area that they are emphasising and it will be one of the things they need to improve during the series.
“As a team, there are quite a few areas we are currently working on to improve keeping in mind this particular series against Sri Lanka. While our core strength lies in our batting, we are giving extra efforts to improve our fielding skills,” she said.
However, she backed talented Jemimah Rodrigues, who was dropped from the squad earlier but has now made way to the side for the T20I series against Sri Lanka. However, she was not included in the last ODI World Cup squad as well.
“She’s someone who’s very experienced. I know she wasn’t a part of the [ODI] World Cup squad recently, but she’s someone who had done really well in the T20 side,” Harmanpreet Kaur said. “Whatever opportunities have come her way, she’s always ready to grab. For me it’s very important to keep talking to the players whatever, you know, you’re planning. Because we only have three games here and it’s really difficult to give each and everyone equal opportunities. We’ll try to cover all the areas where everyone can say they’ve got enough chances to prepare themselves to perform for the team.”
However, she has admitted that it is tough to give everyone an equal opportunity every time, but they will prepare the perfect team combination for big tournaments as well.
“I will ensure that everyone has enough chances to prepare. If you look at Jemimah’s case, she always grabs whatever opportunities come her way. Similarly, it’s very important to keep talking to other players and find out the right combination for big-ticket events like the Commonwealth Games,” she remarked.
“He motivated us a lot with anecdotes from his time” – Harmanpreet Kaur on VVS Laxman
She has also opened up on their brief one-week NCA fitness camp before departure for the Sri Lanka series. She also shared their meeting with the veteran India player VVS Laxman as well, who is at the helm of NCA.
“After the World Cup, we got some time to speak to VVS (Laxman) sir (Head of Cricket). The NCA has shown keen interest in helping us women’s team improve and grow. We got the chance to speak to them and have a chat about the areas we can improve on. This was the first time we got such an opportunity,” Harmanpreet Kaur said. “He motivated us a lot with anecdotes from his time on how the Indian [men’s] team went through the phase when they had to work on and improve their fielding and fitness. On how all of them individually put in their extra 10 per cent effort. Then we also discussed as a team that how we can put that extra bit of effort as a unit over two sessions. He was there throughout the camp and he was constantly talking with us. You need those people around who can motivate you and who can push you to improve. As a team we’re very happy that he was there and he was continuously giving us inputs and suggestions.”
Meanwhile, there was no clarity if the series will be broadcast live just a day before the series starts. While Harmanpreet Kaur stated that the BCCI is working towards the broadcast of the series, later it was known that the series will be shown live on Sri Lanka Cricket’s official YouTube channel. Notably, most of all India’s matches have got broadcast following their appearance in the World Cup final in 2017.
“I did hear about the broadcast for the series, but there’s nothing official from the boards yet due to last-minute changes I think,” said Harmanpreet Kaur.
However, the three-match T20I series will be followed by as many ODIs, slated to take place at Pallekele on July 1, 4 and 7.
SL vs IND Teams:
Sri Lanka: Chamari Athapaththu (C), Nilakshi de Silva, Kavisha Dilhari, Vishmi Gunaratne, Ama Kanchana, Hansima Karunaratne, Achini Kulasuriya, Sugandika Kumari, Harshitha Madavi, Hasini Perera, Udeshika Prabodhani, Oshadi Ranasinghe, Inoka Ranaweera, Sathya Sandeepani, Anushka Sanjeewani, Malsha Shehani, Tharika Sewwandi
India: Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Smriti Mandhana (VC), Simran Bahadur, Yastika Bhatia, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Richa Ghosh (WK), Sabbhineni Meghana, Meghna Singh, Poonam Yadav, Renuka Singh, Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Radha Yadav