India wicketkeeper-batter Richa Ghosh, one of the stars in the thrilling second T20I victory decided via Super Oval at the D.Y. Patil Stadium here, is itching to emulate MS Dhoni-like heroics as a crucial third T20I comes up against Australia at Brabourne Stadium on Wednesday evening.
While revealing in the pre-match presser that she idolized Dhoni in her growing-up years and saw him script great finishes for India, Richa also expressed her desire to meet him in the future.
“Since childhood, I’ve followed Dhoni and how he used to finish the game. I haven’t had the opportunity to meet him yet. There have been times when he would leave just before we were in for a camp or a match at a venue. Hopefully, I’ll meet him someday.”
Richa also credited her father for teaching her cricket and backing her dream of playing for India. “The rest I have learned from my dad. My family and father helped me a lot and he would always accompany me to my games. He could not play for long, so he backed me to chase my dreams.”
Richa produced some superb late hitting in her 26 not out off 13 balls, including three huge sixes, and even hit a six on the first ball of the Super Over against Heather Graham to set the base for India clinching a thrilling victory over the Alyssa Healy-led Australia in front of 45,238 fans in the stadium to leave the five-match series 1-1.
Richa called her performance in the second T20I her best knock. “Smriti didi (Mandhana) had told me ‘Khatam karke aana’ (get us over the line), so I just did that. We were just following our plan and I was trying to get as many runs in the middle (overs) so that helped us to achieve the target in the end.”
“Whenever I bat, I always think about how to help my team win a game. I have always focused on power-hitting. I worked hard on it and also focused on my mental toughness. It all went according to our plan.”
Both Richa and opening batter Shafali Verma will join up with India’s Under-19 squad later this month ahead of the inaugural U-19 Women’s T20 World Cup that will happen in South Africa from January 14-29. It means that the duo could miss the final T20I against Australia, but Richa insisted her focus is on the ongoing series against Australia.
“We are only thinking about this series for now. Once we join the Under 19 camp, we will focus on those things. It won’t be a problem to get used to that setup because both Shafali and I have known them for a while.”
Alyssa had a front-row seat to Richa’s magnificent display of power hitting in the second T20I and issued a warning to other teams ahead of the Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup.
While Ghosh struggled to make much of an impact during the 2021/22 WBBL in Australia, scoring only 162 runs in 14 innings at an average of 12.46, Alyssa believes the sky is the limit for the 19-year-old.
“She came over to the WBBL and probably did not have quite the impact as she is having in this series. It’s an interesting one for us, but the confidence that she is coming out and batting with is probably a little terrifying for a lot of Under 19 World Cup sides out there.”