Richa Ghosh could be a great addition to the Indian team, says Smriti Mandhana

Richa Ghosh plays an attacking stroke down the ground. © BCCI/ IPL

Richa Ghosh burst into the Indian team on the back of some promising performances through the domestic T20 matches at both state and Challenger level. Smriti Mandhana, who captained Ghosh in the Challenger trophy earlier this year and is once again leading the 17-year-old who is part of the Trailblazers side in the Women’s T20 Challenge, has been mighty impressed with the youngster’s allround ability.

Ghosh, who donned the gloves in the opening two encounters, keeping regular wicket-keeper Nuzhat Parween on the bench, has shown glimpses of her ability with the bat this tournament. In her side’s opening encounter, she smashed a six to seal a comfortable win over Velocity, before crunching a boundary off Shakera Selman off her first ball in the second game against Supernovas.

Speaking on the eve of the tournament final, Mandhana showered praise on the youngster, saying that her diverse skill set makes her a terrific addition to any team.

“I think Richa is someone who has done well in the domestic circuit for a year and she was also there with us in the World Cup, so I think these matches are going to give her a lot of experience. I think it’s good to have a player like her who can bowl, who can keep [as well] – it’s good for the balance of the team. If she develops into an allround player, it will be a great addition to the Indian team,” Mandhana said on Sunday (November 8).

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Having been knocked out of the tournament in the first round last year, Mandhana admitted that those memories fueled the team’s desire to make their way into the final this edition. She added that the big win in their opening game against Velocity gave the players plenty of confidence, and although they lost against Supernovas a couple of days ago, she believes the side have learnt plenty from the game.

“I think last year’s memories were quite fresh, so we wanted to win both the matches and go to the final, but that didn’t happen. I think we did pretty well in the first match to get our run rate high, so I think it was quite sure that we might make the final,” the skipper said. “We wanted to win two out of two and go to the final, but nevertheless, I think we have tomorrow to come back stronger and make it even now.”

“I think keeping the last game in mind, we need to work on our fielding. We gave 15-20 runs extra in our fielding. And also our bowling plans to (Chamari) Atapattu can get better. I think we leaked a few runs extra in the powerplay, so we’ll have to go back and work on the plans, how we can stop her in the powerplay. In the batting, I think we were good to get to the last ball, so hopefully we can get over the line in the next game.”

Looking ahead to the final, Mandhana said she is proud of the fight her team showed through the last league match. She said that ability to bounce back when consistently being put under pressure is something that will stand them in good stead in the final.

“I think in both innings, the way we came back really well in our bowling was great. In the first 10 overs we went for 80-90 odd runs, but then we did well to restrict them in the last 10 for only 60-odd runs. So that was a good comeback from our bowlers,” the skipper explained,

“I think same with the batting. The way we came back after the 13th or 14th over… In the last 6 overs we got that match close. We almost got to win the match. I think the way we came back in both the innings was a big positive that shows how the players are keen to win the match from any situation. So, I think, as a captain that was one thing which was really positive – the way everyone was fighting even though we were on the back foot,” she said.