Ready for everything that comes my way: Richa Ghosh
Richa Ghosh didn’t get many opportunities on her maiden tour to Australia during the T20I tri-series involving India, Australia and England, and the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 that followed. She played three games and scored 49 runs, but the experience she gained in a little over one month with the team has made the Bengal batter tough enough to say, “I am ready for everything that comes my way.”
“Definitely, it (being part of the Indian team) was a good experience. Had we won the World Cup it would have been more memorable,” Ghosh told Women’s CricZone in an exclusive chat. “The tour Down Under has been massive for me in terms of personal gain as a player. The seniors made me feel comfortable all through our stay. So, overall, it was quite a good outing.”
The 16-year-old earned a place in the national side after promising performances in the Women’s T20 Challenger Trophy in Cuttack earlier in the year. Playing for India B, the right-hander had scores of 25, 22, 36 and 15, playing a pivotal role in her team’s run to the final. Although India B lost to India C in the summit clash, Ghosh’s output – coupled with the positive intent and character she showed under pressure – was enough for the selectors to add her to the squad for the trip to Australia.
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Asked whether the call-up was on expected lines, the youngster said, “The Australia tour and the World Cup were in my mind for long and I have been practicing according to that. But having said that, I focused on the Women’s T20 Challenger at that point in time and everything fell into place.”
The Siliguri-born girl made her international debut against Australia in the tri-series final on February 12. Coming in at No.3 after the dismissal of opener Shafali Verma early in the innings, Ghosh looked both compact and confident striking two boundaries in her 23-ball 17. She shared an important 43-run partnership for the second wicket with Smriti Mandhana before being dismissed by Annabel Sutherland.
She then went on to make her T20 World Cup debut (in place of an ill Mandhana) in India’s 18-run win against Bangladesh scoring a run-a-ball 14 before coming in as a concussion substitute for wicket-keeper Taniya Bhatia, in another final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 8. Although India were crushed by 85 runs, Ghosh showed wonderful temperament in what could have been a difficult situation – getting unexpectedly thrown into the deep end on such a big stage.
“The first thing on my mind (when I walked in to bat in the final) was to take my team towards victory. But when I saw wickets kept on falling at the other end, I was like, ‘Okay. Let’s put up a respectable score bowing out,’ considering the fact we didn’t have wickets and overs in hand at that point of time,” said Ghosh, who scored 18 that day.
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Ghosh’s innings might not have set the game alight, but the teenager’s positive approach against the likes of Jess Jonassen and Megan Schutt made clear that she is on the right-track. “In every match, I played, I tried to give my best for the team. I always go in with a positive and attacking mindset since my childhood, and whenever I went out to bat in Australia, I just played my natural game,” she added.
Speaking about a full-fledged Women’s Indian Premier League, Ghosh pointed out the need for one as it would enhance the skills of all participating players. “It’s definitely a requirement. The more games we play with some of the biggest stars in the world the more we evolve,” she signed off.