Hoping to continue what our U19 team did: India skipper Harmanpreet ahead of Women’s T20 WC opener against arch-rivals Pakistan

Cape Town [South Africa], February 12 (ANI): Ahead of their ICC Women’s T20 World Cup campaign opener against Pakistan, the members of the senior national side are aiming to replicate the magic created by the U19 cricket team, which made history by clinching the first-ever ICC Women’s U19 T20 World Cup by defeating England in the final back in January.

The high-octane ICC Women’s T20 World Cup campaign opener between arch-rivals India and Pakistan will take place in Cape Town on Sunday.

Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur said that it felt really good that Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh, two members of the senior national side, got the taste of winning a World Cup trophy.

"It feels good that two of our players got the taste of how it feels after winning a World Cup trophy. Their experience and feelings will motivate others. We hope to continue what our U19 team did," said Harmanpreet in a video posted by ICC.

The skipper said that it is important for her that every member of her team delivers on the field since team effort is key to winning every game.

"I feel that a single player can only win you a game or two. That is why, I keep talking to all the players, to keep them comfortable," added the skipper.

Indian opener Smriti Mandhana also said that following U19 team’s World Cup win, the senior side started to visualise themselves winning the trophy during a year that already looks huge for women’s cricket.

"It is something we are trying to bring for the Indian team for a very long time. We came really close previously but could not achieve it. To see the girls go over the line (during U19 T20 WC) was emotional," added Mandhana.

Explosive 19-year-old top-order batter looked back at India’s heartbreaking loss to Australia in the final of the 2020 edition of the tournament, which saw Women in Blue lose by 85 runs while chasing a target of 185. India was bundled out for 99 runs.

"That tournament is very close to my heart. It was my first-ever World Cup. We cannot say that we lost since we won the hearts of millions of fans. It was a very good tournament and I got a lot of motivation out of it. We will try to win each of our games and we want to win the World Cup," said Shafali.

Team India head coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar said that the U19 World Cup win is going to have a huge impact on women’s cricket.

"There is a lot more attention being given to women’s cricket. I am sure there are a lot of girls who will be watching these tournaments and will take up the game as a profession," added Kanitkar.

The coach said that it was nice that two senior players in the team got to play in South Africa and experience the conditions there beforehand ahead of the tournament.

"There is a huge wind factor that makes the difference while batting and bowling," added the coach.

Kanitkar also said that the fielding standards of the side have gone up, with players paying heavy attention and interest to their fielding drills and practice.

"The goal is to be the best team in the world and fielding plays a huge part in that," added Kanitkar.

India’s squad for ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Smriti Mandhana (Vice-Captain), Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia (wk), Richa Ghosh (wk) Jemimah Rodrigues, Harleen Deol, Deepti Sharma, Devika Vaidya, Radha Yadav, Renuka Thakur, Anjali Sarvani, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shikha PandeyReserves: Sabbhineni Meghana, Sneh Rana, Meghna SinghNote: Pooja Vastrakar’s inclusion in the squad is subject to fitness. (ANI)