Harmanpreet Kaur, the captain of India on Thursday said handling pressure would be the key in the upcoming ICC Women's T20 World Cup. However, India failed to do that in the last two mega-events. She shared at the pre-departure press conference before the tri-series including England and Australia.
India lost the semi-final in the last T20 World Cup and failed to win the previous 50-overs World Cup in 2017 where they had finished as runners-up.
"We were quite close in the last two World Cups, the only thing is we have to keep in mind how to handle pressure in the tournaments, last two World Cups we lacked in handling pressure," Harmanpreet Kaur said. "This time we want to enjoy rather than taking more pressure on ourselves, thinking that it is a big tournament. We have to avoid thinking like that and focus on giving our best."
The T20 World Cup will take place in Australia from February 21 to March 8. India will take on Australia, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Sri Lanka in the Group stage there. Captain, however, thinks the team needs to focus on its strength instead of thinking about the pressure.
"Last few World Cups, we put ourselves under too much pressure of playing in a big tournament. This time rather thinking that we are going for a big tournament, we just want to focus on our skills, how we should play and how to make the team win," she said.
India have a strong spin bowling attack which Harmanpreet said that this is one of their strengths of all time.
"…they always give us breakthroughs. So I am looking forward to how our spinners perform there (in Australia) and see what they do for the team," said the captain.
India have a new opener in the form of young Shafali Verma. She will open the innings with the experienced Smriti Mandhana. Their partnership will be crucial for India.
"They both (Smriti and Shafali) are very important for the team and they always give their best…the first six overs are going to be important for us. Good start is important for the team and whenever they get a good start, we never look back. They both have very big role to play," she said.
India have given the maiden call-up to Bengal's rookie batter Richa Ghosh who earned it on the back of a stunning domestic season. She has a superb Challengers trophy as well. However, the captain thinks the youngsters would be encouraged to play their natural game.
"…don't take any pressure because if we play freely without any pressure, you will give your 100 per cent. There are some players, who like to take pressure and play," Harmanpreet Kaur said. "So, for me it is very important to understand how their good game comes up. We have the tri-series before the World Cup, that is going to be an advantage and how they perform in it, we will plan accordingly."
On the other hand, Harmanpreet Kaur had a not-so-good 2019 but she wants to start the new year with positivity.
"I am feeling very positive right now and very excited to see how I play in the World Cup. Performance is something that will never happen 100 per cent because things don't go in your favour always and you have to accept all those things," she said. "But I am really positive and excited."