Pitching for Progress: Woes of Indian Women's Cricket team in White Ball
After a disheartening WC semi-final exit, the Indian Women’s Cricket team continues to look lackluster against champion sides in ODIs and T20s.
Indian women's cricket has experienced remarkable growth and recognition in recent years, yet the white-ball formats present a complex terrain with challenges that demand attention and strategic solutions. While successes have been celebrated, there are lingering woes that require scrutiny to elevate the team's performance on the international stage.
Let’s understand the situation better by looking at the white-ball performances of the team after the World Cup exit. A 2-1 T20 series win against Bangladesh followed by a 1-1 draw in the ODI series. After this, they won the Gold medal in the Asian Games. However, truth be told, the team wasn’t tested much apart from Sri Lanka in the final. Following this in December, they lost against England 2-1 in the T20 series at home. They were completely outplayed against Australia in the ODI series with a 3-0 whitewash.
Even after a historic win in the first T20I against Australia, the hosts failed to manage to hold on to the lead and take the series away. It is in moments like these that the mentality of a champion side is tested. While Australia showcased this perfectly, India succumbed to the pressure once again.
The challenges are many but this Indian side is visibly trying to experiment with all the combinations before going into the World Cup later this year. However, some issues need to be addressed.
Top Order Inconsistency
The top order has been a concern for India in recent times. Smriti Mandhana needs to work more on her consistency especially being one of the most senior players in the contingent and leading the charge at the top. Shafali Verma, on the other hand, needs to work more on her mistakes. Every time you see Shafali getting dismissed, you feel like you have seen it before.
There is no harm in playing your natural game and being aggressive but in order to rise through the ranks, one has to maintain discipline, learn from their mistakes, and improve their game every single time.
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Finishing with the bat
The Indian Team faces a notable challenge when it comes to finishing matches in white-ball formats. Despite showcasing individual brilliance and strong starts, the team encounters difficulties in finishing the innings. Both Pooja Vastravar and Richa Ghosh have been instrumental in solving this problem and taking the team across the line quite a few times.
However, in pressure games, they often succumb to the pressure. Deepti Sharma, being the most experienced of the lot comes in to bat last among them but her innings progression is not very well suited at this phase of the game- especially in T20 cricket. Either India needs to play Deepti higher or play her as a proper bowler, getting in a specialist finisher to do the job.
Harnessing the Potential of Spin
India has traditionally been strong in spin bowling, yet harnessing this potential to its fullest in white-ball formats remains a challenge. Strategic deployment of spinners, adapting to different conditions, and maximizing their impact on the game should be a focal point. Many players have made their debuts in recent matches including Shreyanka Patil, Saiqa Ishaque, and Mannat Kashyap.
These players must adapt quickly to the international standards of the game and garner more experience from the WPL to fine-tune themselves and bring out their best versions ahead of the T20 World Cup. With the WC happening in Bangladesh this time around, India’s spin might be the most lethal weapon in their armor if they harness it the right way.
Closing out important games
There is a call for strategic measures to enhance the team's adaptability and decision-making in crunch moments. Harmanpreet’s runout in that semi-final still hurts millions of Indian fans across the globe. If not for that, things might have been so different. The team, while demonstrating skill and talent, falters when confronted with tight situations, resulting in missed opportunities to seal victories. This needs to be rectified and it needs to be done quickly. With a new generation of players coming up who already have experience playing alongside international greats in the WPL, one might hope that this changes.
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Adaptation to T20 Innovations
Modern-day cricket is ever-evolving and it will continue to do so. The evolution of T20 cricket with innovations like the rise of power-hitting and tactical variations demands adaptability. The team needs to stay ahead of the curve, embracing and integrating modern T20 strategies into their game plan. The experience of playing in the WPL might just be a determining factor in the future of Women’s cricket in India for it can change the way these women approach cricket- look beyond the traditional style occasionally and adapt to the new techniques.
In conclusion, addressing these woes requires a comprehensive and collaborative effort from players, coaches, administrators, and support staff. The challenges present opportunities for growth, learning, and transformation.
With a strategic, holistic, and more disciplined approach, Indian women's cricket can overcome these hurdles and chart a path towards sustained success in white-ball formats. The journey may be arduous, but the destination promises glory and fulfillment on the global stage.
Experimenting with new combinations, giving chances to more youngsters, and trying to form a core for the next generation is evident in what India is doing at the moment. The Amol Mazumdar- Harmanpreet Kaur combination looks good in the initial days. More fans are invested in the sport and the WPL only looking to expand itself from here. Here’s to hoping that the revolution in Indian Women’s Cricket comes very soon and we are all there to witness it.