The Indian Women’s cricket team that lost to England in the final of the ICC World Cup on Sunday received a warm reception in Delhi on Thursday. The 19-year-old Deepti Sharma, who made it to ICC’s ‘team of the tournament’ following her impressive performance, spoke to National Herald at length on the team’s experience
On English conditions: The weather was nice for playing cricket and the conditions were favourable. Spinners were getting assistance from the pitch. The pitch had turn on the offer and after defeating England in the opening fixture, we were high on confidence.
On the loss in the final: When I went in to bat, 28 runs were required to win. I was thinking about rotating the strike and keep picking up singles because there were more balls than number of runs required. We were told to achieve the target and not to do things in a hurry, to stay calm.
On Mithali Raj’s captaincy: She is a very cool captain. Just like MS Dhoni who keeps a cool head during pressure situation, Mithu Di (Mithali Raj) stays calm at all times.
On T20 World Cup next year: ODI and T20 formats are very different. Everything in T20 cricket happens very quickly. You have to field quickly, we cannot play too many dot balls in T20 either and hence rotating the strike and taking singles become important.
On being named in the ICC’s team of the tournament: This is the first time I’ve been selected in the ICC’s team, it is a wonderful feeling. I am very confident right now.
On her preferred batting position: I’m a batting all-rounder and an opening batter. I was just focussed on my batting. I was prepared to bat at any position, as an opener, one down or nine down and just wanted to perform for the team.
On learning from the seniors: I personally learn a lot from senior players, both on and off the pitch. I try to grab the positives and learn from the senior players’ experiences.
The biggest takeaway from the World Cup: I learnt how to handle pressure, to stay cool irrespective of the situation. It might get tough in the middle, there will be easy situations as well. You just have to stay cool in all circumstances.
Experience of playing at Lords: It’s every cricketer’s dream to play at Lords. I played at Lords for the first time in the final. The ground was amazing. It was a full-house attendance, this was also something that was happening for the first time for us. To manage to play in front of such a large crowd was itself a huge experience.
On women’s IPL: The IPL for women should have started with the men’s IPL itself. But it’s still not. The sooner it starts, the better it will be for women’s cricket.
Transition from domestic to international cricket: As Mithali Raj had said in an interview earlier, we need two to three years to adjust from the domestic to the international level. Our domestic season has just around 15 matches in total. It will help if we play more matches. Now we have two-day games as well for girls.