Former India opener W. V. Raman wants fans to “understand” that Indian women’s cricket is on the right track. As coach of the team which plays the West Indies in three ODIs and five T20Is from November 1 to 20, Raman drew a rosy picture of the squad.
“There are quite a few areas to be worked upon, primarily fitness. Progress was seen in the recent series (against South Africa) where the girls could cope with the humid conditions. But I have said repeatedly don’t draw comparisons with men’s cricket. It’s not fair. Women’s cricket is gaining momentum in India,” he told The Hindu.
Raman was categorical in pointing out, “Indians should not be compared with women cricketers from England, Australia or New Zealand because they have the advantage of playing 4 to 5 sports. Our girls don’t have similar facilities. Our girls are not as strong. But things are changing. Our girls know they have better flexibility and hence have to rely on good technique. It is not necessary to play big shots.”
He observed, “they now bat without inhibitions. Earlier there was more of either blocking or playing a big hit. The batting skills have improved now. They look for twos and threes and not just look to score through boundaries. They are also learning to play to win more matches against tough teams, especially when the top players are missing (Harmanpreet not playing against South Africa). They need to play well in the absence of leading performers.”
Pat for spinners
Raman was happy with the bowlers. “The spinners have been doing a great job. We have a couple of good seam bowlers who can do with more match fitness.
In T20s we have decent all-rounders in Pooja (Vastrakar) and Arundhati (Reddy). They need to step up their game to play regularly in the ODIs because they can do well on the bouncy tracks overseas. Having Mithali (Raj) is good for the youngsters. She keeps herself fit and brings in terrific work ethic to her job.”
On the opposition, Raman noted, “they play the Caribbean style of cricket and we have respect for the West Indies team. The ODI series is part of the ICC Women’s Championship. We have to be at our best and have to win the series.”