Remember Shafali Verma dropping Australia’s Alyssa Healy on nine in the final of the T20 World Cup on March 8 earlier this year in front of 86,000-plus fans at the MCG? The Cup was dropped then and there but that missed chance should not take away what the opener has achieved throughout the tournament, feels India’s fielding coach Subhadeep Ghosh.
“Sometimes an impossible catch is taken and sometimes a simple catch gets dropped. This is all part of the game,” Ghosh told Hindustan Times. “She put her everything into that Cup—one dropped catch couldn’t have taken away what she had achieved.”
Although Shafali failed to score in the final, the Haryana batter was India’s top scorer in the competition with 163 runs from five games and occupied the fifth spot on the overall table. The darling of the team who stunned the world with her aggressive style of batting, was inconsolable after the match. Ghosh made sure to have a quiet word with her after the game.
“The team did a fine job while fielding in Australia. The catching was superb. We had trained really hard for the tri-series and the World Cup. Harmanpreet Kaur (skipper), Radha Yadav, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Veda Krishnamurthy and wicket-keeper Taniya Bhatia are superb fielders,” said Ghosh, who was roped in by BCCI last October ahead of the West Indies tour.
“I won’t say Indian women are the best in the world but they are catching up with Australia, England and New Zealand. With more exposure and camps, they can upgrade themselves. They are a talented bunch, very eager to learn,” added Ghosh, whose previous employers include Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL, and Assam and Andhra Pradesh in Ranji Trophy.
Bhatiya too credits Ghosh for her success. “His inputs and feedback have helped me adapt to different wickets and conditions… During the World Cup, he along with the other support staff and captain kept us in the right state of mind and never let outside pressure get to us. I keep in touch with Joy sir (Ghosh). Even in the lockdown, I have been chalking out plans,” said the Chandigarh-based Bhatia.
Head coach WV Raman and support staff have instructed players on Whatsapp what drills to do during the lockdown. “There is a difference when we compare men’s and women’s cricket in terms of skills and strength. There won’t be power-hitters or juicy bouncers every over. So, fielding can make a difference,” said Ghosh, who feels playing more matches will help India prepare for the ODI World Cup in New Zealand early next year.
“They only got to play under lights in the last IPL. Considering that, they adjusted well on the West Indies and Australia tours. They need to play lots of matches and do camps to lift their fielding for New Zealand.” The players are expected to get together after the long break for a training camp in August. Ghosh said: “The state associations need to work closely with their coaches and players to make them good fielders. This can really help improve fielding standards at the domestic level. Young players make India debut, they can adjust to the international level easily.”