With just a week left for the Women’s T20 World Cup to begin in South Africa, India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur said her team is motivated to do well in the competition on seeing the triumph of U19 team in the inaugural Women’s U19 T20 World Cup.
On January 29, India’s agonising wait for a maiden world title in women’s cricket came to an end when the Shafali Verma led-side defeated England by seven wickets in the final of the inaugural ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup in Potchefstroom.
From that victorious squad, Shafali and Richa Ghosh have joined the Harmanpreet-led side for the Women’s T20 World Cup to be held from February 10-26. India last made it to the final of the 2020 Women’s T20 World Cup, which Australia won in front of a packed MCG crowd.
“After watching the U19 World Cup, we are motivated to do what they have done. They have motivated us to do well, they have done it and we have not done it yet.”
“It was a very special moment for all of us and after watching the U19s many of the girls back home will also want to play cricket and that’s always our aim to motivate young girls who can come and play cricket,” said Harmanpreet during the Captains’ Day event.
India will open their Group B campaign in the Women’s T20 World Cup against arch-rivals Pakistan on February 12 at Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town. Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof feels that the tournament is a chance for her team to test themselves against other strong teams.
“We have improved as a team over the years and this tournament gives us another opportunity to test ourselves. We are all pumped up and we’re excited to put in our best efforts to create good results for our team.”
Apart from Pakistan, India will also face 2009 champions England, 2016 winners West Indies, and Ireland in the group stage of the competition. India had recently faced West Indies in the tri-series in South Africa and their captain Hayley Matthews feels the competition helped her team get used to the conditions in the African nation.
“We’ve had the tri-series between ourselves, India and South Africa and it was a really great opportunity to be down here and get acclimatized to the conditions and see where we’re at with our game as well. A good opportunity for us to get out there in a T20 World Cup in a place we’ve been quite a lot over the last couple of years.”
England captain Heather Knight stressed on how their team isn’t being complacent in the group stage of the tournament. “Our job as a team is to play the group games in front of us and to try to get out of the group stages. Everyone starts on the same page, we’re pretty clear as a team how we want to go about things and in a T20 World Cup, you don’t have much chance to slip up and our sole focus is on that.”
Ireland skipper Laura Delany explained how full-time contracts have helped her team to grow and develop as an international side. “After we didn’t qualify for the last World Cup cricket in Ireland has changed massively over the last three or four years and the introduction of full-time contracts has now allowed us to train on a full time basis but now guarantees us games against the best sides in the world and as a team that’s the only way we’re going to grow and develop.”
“We’re looking forward of the next couple of weeks, we know it’s going to be a tough challenge but it’s one that we welcome.”