The upcoming tour of Sri Lanka will be the ‘ideal platform’ and the ‘right time’ for the young quick bowlers to grab their ‘opportunities’ in the absence of the experienced Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey. Harmanpreet Kaur, India’s newly-appointed ODI captain, and head coach Ramesh Powar, laid out the plans for the team before departing for their Sri Lanka tour, as they look to fine-tune their plans for the Commonwealth Games starting next month and the T20 World Cup next year in South Africa.
The omission of Goswami, Pandey and all-rounder Sneh Rana were among the talking points when the squads were picked for the ODIs and T20Is in Sri Lanka. While Rana was ‘rested,’ Powar explained, he also hinted that Goswami and Pandey had been dropped. While India’s spin attack includes experienced names like Deepti Sharma, Poonam Yadav and Rajeshwari Gayakwad apart from Radha Yadav (only for T20Is), the pace attack features Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh and allrounder Simran Bahadur.
“I think if we talk about our bowling unit, this is the time they can take responsibility and this tour will be the ideal platform for them to perform,” Harmanpreet said at a virtual press conference on Saturday. “We will take charge and bowl [their] full quota [of overs]. For me, it’s a great opportunity where you can build a good team. Sri Lanka is not going to be an easy tour for us. So, it’s important [to ensure that] whatever we are planning we go and deliver. That’s what as a unit we are looking forward to.”
Powar further said this tour will open the door for further growth among youngsters.
“When you move forward in a transition period, you need to give opportunities to young players to cement their places,” he said. “For that as a support staff, we need to go and give them support through NCA and skill coaches that they should concur in every situation.
So, this is the right time for players to take their opportunity and do well going forward.
“As far as pace bowling is concerned, you’ve seen from the Australia tour, we’ve introduced Renuka and Meghna. We introduced a few bowlers in the system as well. So, it will take a little time to see the results because they have to address their fitness and match experience.
“As far as Jhulan and Shikha are concerned, I think they have done a fantastic job over the years and BCCI and selectors can update on their fitness and everything. As of now, Shikha and Jhulan are not travelling with us.
“So, whichever bowlers are there – we are carrying four fast bowlers – you will see results from them. Pooja Vastrakar has been an outstanding bowler for the last six months. Moving forward, we will try and fast-track this fast bowling attack’s improvements.”
Rana, he said, was given time off to stay ‘fresh’ for the busy calendar ahead.
“She’s been rested for this series; she’s in NCA,” Powar said. “She’s working on her fitness and moving forward. In the FTP we have 20-25 T20 games and some ODI series, so we want her to be fresh for those series. We are trying to manage workload of the bowling as well as the batting unit and are trying to balance it out”
This will be India’s first international assignment since the Women’s World Cup in March, where they bowed out in the group stages after a loss in the virtual quarter-final against South Africa.