Indian women cricket team is all excited and eagerly awaiting the start of ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia from February 21 (Friday). The average age of the Indian team is less than 23 years and there are four teenagers - Shafali Verma(16), Richa Ghosh (16), Jemimah Rodrigues (19) and Radha Yadav (19). The captain Harmanpreet Kaur is the oldest player at 30 and her team's youthful energy is also rubbing off on to the other members of the squad.
One of the batting mainstays, Smriti Mandhana along with another dependable batswoman Jemimah Rodrigues feels refreshed by the atmosphere in the group. “You can think of the vibe if you see the age of our team! With that kind of age group, there has to be fun and if there’s no fun there’s something wrong with the girls. It’s been like that for the last one or two years. I won’t say it wasn’t like that in the years before but since the teenagers have come, there is a different energy," said the 23-year-old.
“Young players come into it with fresh thinking, they don’t have anything behind them. They know nothing. They are very different people to we were when we came into the side at 17. They are very fearless, they don’t have a lot of pressure on them. They think like it’s any other match and coming into a World Cup, that’s the best thing about them," she stated.
Rodrigues, 19, composed a rap to mark Harmanpreet’s 100th T20I in September 2019 alongside all-rounder Harleen Deol. With Richa Ghosh fast-tracked into the squad without a T20I appearance and Shafali Verma getting to meet her idol Sachin Tendulkar in Australia, dreams are coming true every day in the India camp.
One player you won’t find getting her dancing shoes on is seamer Shikha Pandey. “I’ve got two left feet, so there’s no chance I’m joining them. I just sing along,” Shikha said.
It seems there’s no danger of a split between young and old, with 27-year-old batter Veda Krishnamurthy loving the ride. “This group really knows how to have fun. It’s about making the young players feel comfortable and I’ve become one with them. We have a lot of dances, a lot of singing and a lot of things that happen. I think we’re the happiest team at the World Cup - although Thailand might give us some competition," she added.
India are in Group A along with hosts Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Group B has England, South Africa, Pakistan, West Indies and Thailand.