India lags five years behind Australia and England, feels Kaur

I have cleared all exams and all the certificates are legal: Harmanpreet Kaur

Harmanpreet Kaur feels India lags five years behind England and Australia in domestic set-up. ©Indian Express

With the T20 World Cup done and dusted, India need to focus on three primary areas -- fitness, fielding and finding quality fast bowlers – going into 50-over World Cup in New Zealand next year, feels India T20I skipper Harmanpreet Kaur.

“Now the players are getting more aware about being fit and following the right daily routines,” Kaur was quoted as saying to Mumbai Mirror. “The things we have grasped in the last two-three years, England and Australia have been doing from long before.”

It’s true that there is a hell and heaven difference in the domestic structures between India and the likes of Australia, and England. Kaur believes India lags behind them for at least five years before stating central contracts, interest in women's game and better facilities have made a difference.

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“Definitely we are five-six years behind them in these aspects,” she said. “But now girls have understood their responsibility towards being fit. Earlier there used to be huge difference between a domestic player and what is expected at international level. But now some 30 girls are given individual programme by the BCCI.

“So when one of them is picked for India, she is not clueless of what is expected of her. As we keep improving our domestic level, the performances at international level will improve. That is why I said we are five-six years behind these teams because our domestic set-up is not as good as it should be,” she added.

Kaur believes India has improved tremendously in fitness and skills and that is one of the key reasons for the team performing well in the past two-three years. “Just fitness. In these two countries fitness is part of their culture. Unfortunately, in India we start these things late,” Kaur told The Week.

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“For the last three years, the girls have been working hard on fitness. It does not improve overnight, we need to work on it for longer durations. Earlier, we would come close to these teams and lose, but now we are winning matches against them. Skill-wise we are better batters and bowlers than these two countries.”

Kaur’s assessment also comes in line of former India pacer Rumeli Dhar, who told Women’s CricZone about the same in an interview dated March 27, 2020. Apart from maintaining fitness levels, Kaur also added that the team needs a quality pacer in the side to support the spinners who have always bailed the team out of crises situation.

“I think we need another pacer in the side. Only then will the team really look complete. The team management should look into that aspect,” were Dhar’s exact words. “We definitely need three medium pacers in the side. But we also need to see if they are good enough. We need to look more on the existing talent in the medium pace department. Hopefully, in the next one or two years, we will have them ready,” Kaur added.

Kaur’s own numbers with the bat have not been great lately and said it has nothing to do with captaincy. It is to be noted that Kaur led India into the semi-finals and final of the T20 World Cups in 2018 and 2020 respectively.

“From outside it may look like that, but personally I have never felt so,” she said, when asked about the pressures of captaincy. “I really enjoy this part. I feel more involved. The captaincy keeps me alert all the time. Earlier, I used to think about my performance alone. Captaincy has made me a better person. (Now) I cannot think only about myself, but (have to think) of other things, too.”