Richa Ghosh looks forward to Women’s T20 Challenge experience in UAE

Richa Ghosh bats during the T20 tri-series final between Australia and India at Junction Oval in Melbourne. © Getty Images

Consistent performances in Women’s T20 Challenger Trophy in Cuttack, an international debut against Australia, World Cup debut against Bangladesh and now a place in the Women’s T20 Challenge in UAE – teen Richa Ghosh is living the dream. Although the year 2020 has been quite bad for many due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Richa couldn’t have asked for a more fruitful year than this.

“I am super excited. This is my first time in the Women’s T20 Challenge and to be a part of the side that boasts the likes of legendary Jhulan Goswami and an experienced batter in Smriti Mandhana, I couldn’t have asked for more,” Ghosh told Women’s CricZone from Kolkata before her departure to Mumbai. She earlier played under Mandhana’s leadership during the Challengers for India B in Cuttack.

“Then Deepti Sharma is there, who also plays for Bengal, the overseas players from Bangladesh, West Indies and other countries, so in all, I am very excited,” she added. Ghosh was selected in the Trailblazers squad which also has India internationals Punam Raut, Harleen Deol and Rajeshwari Gayakwad. The overseas faces are West Indies’ Deandra Dottin, no.1 T20I bowler Sophie Ecclestone from England, Thailand’s Nattakan Chantham and Bangladesh T20I skipper Salma Khatun.

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With no modern facilities, Ghosh made an artificial setup at her home in Siliguri, training every day for five months during the lockdown before hitting the gym in September after the West Bengal government permitted the operations in the state. She flew to Kolkata a week ago to join the CAB camp, and has been working extensively under the watchful eyes of the academy coaches, trainers and physios.

West Indies allrounder Dottin has been in form of her life returning back from a shoulder injury and was her side’s highest run-getter in the recently-concluded T20I series against England. Asked about what she would pick from the Caribbean star considering both are top-order batters, Ghosh gave an honest reply.

“This is the first time I will be meeting her. Till now I have only seen her play on the television. About what I can gain from her is that I will discuss my weak points with her and will ask how to mend them. For example, if there is a particular shot or some technique that I am facing problems with and she is executing the same with ease, I will ask her how she is doing that perfectly, where am I lacking and will try to rectify the mistakes,” said the 16-year-old.

Ghosh has been following the IPL matches closely this year, particularly the matches in Sharjah and said, “It’s very hot there, the pitches are good for batting too.” The whole Indian contingent will be assembling in Mumbai on Tuesday (October 13) where they will stay in isolation for a week before they fly to Dubai on October 21. All the players and support staff will be put in the same hotel as a part of a bio-secure bubble.

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Upon reaching Dubai, the Indian players will be meeting with their overseas teammates and will have to serve a mandatory seven-day quarantine period and undergo three COVID tests. Once negative, the players will start training. Asked how she is preparing for life in the bubble, Ghosh preferred to take it in a positive way.

“Since it’s a pandemic situation, not only me, but each and everyone has to adhere to the rules,” she stated. “If we take it positively then there are lots of things to do sitting in the room only. If the rules are followed then the remaining amount of days (till November 9), I will be able to train and play the matches.

“But if I take it on a negative note, and if something negative happens then I have to spend the entire tour sitting in my room,” she concluded.

Earlier, both Ghosh and Jhulan tested negative in a recent COVID test that was done three days ago.