Girls, Do Not Have Problems At All: WV Raman > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - The girls, among themselves, have no issues at all: WV Raman

"We need to obviously do a lot of skill development, which is important. We have enough time to do that, all that is on the anvil in the coming months."

Woorkeri Raman brought experience and pedigree with him when he took charge as coach of India Women at the start of 2019. In this first few months at the helm thus far, the former India opener, a storied coach at both the first-class level and at the international Under-19 grade, has overseen One-Day International series wins against New Zealand (away) and England (home) by identical 2-1 margins, though the results in both Twenty20 International series have not been as encouraging.

Despite being in winning positions, India found ways to self-destruct, losing both T20I showdowns 0-3. With the next Women's T20 WC (Feb 21 to Mar 8, 2020) in Australia less than a year away, it gives Raman and the team time to work on areas that need improvement. The coach insists that more than anything else, it is a question of enhancing skills, adding that once that aspect is addressed, the rest will fall in place.

In this freewheeling chat, Raman reflects on his stint to date, and on how the inclusion of a third team in 2019 Women's T20 Challenge in Jaipur from May 6 to 10 will benefit the system heading into the Women's T20 WC, before which India are likely to figure in a triangular T20 tournament alongside hosts Australia and England.

Excerpts:

It has been a fairly eventful last three months for India Women...

Let's talk about the results part of it. On the face of it, it might look a little bit of a mixed bag. But if you see, we have done well in the one-dayers despite all the limitations we have had. That is primarily due to two reasons. One is that the players know that in 50-over cricket, you can come back into the game even if you suffer a setback. The other is that in the longer duration, it is not all about power and physical attributes. In that format, the girls have done extraordinarily well - beating New Zealand in New Zealand, and then England here. Even if somebody were to say we beat England at home, it is a very good effort. T20s, yes, there were games that we should have won but there again, we did not have the services of Harman against England. In New Zealand, a couple of games could have gone either way. It is not disheartening as far as results are concerned. There have been a lot of learnings in the sense that we know what we need to work on, what are the areas where we are lacking. Along those lines, there has been a lot of learning. The other thing is that based on what has happened, we know what we need to do given the time-frame that we have till the T20 WC. We need to obviously do a lot of skill development, which is important. We have enough time to do that, all that is on the anvil in the coming months.

Whatever setbacks we have had in terms of results, whatever disappointments one has gone through, that has come at the right time in the sense you know what needs to be done, and you have time to develop what needs to be developed. In terms of the number of games that we are scheduled to play, they may not be many. But that really shouldn't matter. It's all about knowing what to do and developing their skills, their foundation. Once that happens, even the fact that we may not have as many games as we would have liked should not be problem. However, we are trying to slot a few more games as we get closer to the T20 WC, there's quite a few things that are being planned. If they all come to fruition, I think the girls will be well prepared in every manner.

You spoke about skill development. How do you go about it?

In the past, it was a situation where the girls played Under-19 and straightaway got into the senior team. That gap is huge, especially given the fact that girls of other countries are stronger, they are more athletic and they have had really strong systems in place. Girls from outside Asia are powerfully built and they are able to hit big against the fast bowlers. That is one area where our girls have to improve. The one thing is that we don't play real quick bowling in the domestic circuit. And also, we need an intermediate level - something like the U-23 or the 'A' side. What has happened is this year, there is an Under-23 camp at the National Cricket Academy, so that level is also being looked at. The other positive development is that the Asian Cricket Council is also starting an Emerging Cup for the girls also, like they have been doing for the boys. That intermediate level is also something which will be very useful in the sense... It is not a question of what age you are at, it is a question of how experienced you are before you get into the Indian team, what kind of exposure you have had. So that level will fill in the huge gap that exists. Natural talent apart, you need to have a reasonable base in terms of technical expertise. That is something that needs to be worked upon, especially by the younger batters, because it is not easy coming from U-19, not playing reasonably quick bowlers, to suddenly look to tonk the fast bowlers in the international circuit. I am sure that in the coming months, once we go through the phases that we have planned, a lot of girls will be a lot more attuned and will develop their aptitude and their skills to stand up to the demands of international cricket.

There have been suggestions that lack of game awareness let the team down in the T20Is.

Generally, people tend to say they don't have situational awareness and stuff. But that situational awareness and employing those tactics knowing very well what to do, that can only come if you have the technical expertise. Unless you have the skills, how do you execute the tactics? Tactics is something that everybody knows. Not necessarily the cricketers alone who are playing the game, but even the ardent followers of the game would know what are the requirements of the situation. That execution part can only be done on a more consistent basis if the skills levels are enhanced. It is like a student going well prepared for the exam - he is going to be confident, he is not going to be worried. But if he has not prepared well, he might not do as well as he could have done otherwise. Along those lines, once the players up their skills part of it, once they enhance their skills, I am sure that the execution part or the situational awareness part will become almost second nature. As of now, they have been playing to perform, developing their skills has been as an incidental byproduct. If that is turned around, the benefits will be a lot more consistent and far better.

Is there a danger that in T20Is, losing can become a habit when you suffer a string of defeats?

The heartening fact is that despite all the limitations, over the last six T20s, it is not a case of us being absolutely thrashed. It is a case of at least four games where, from the jaws of victory, we lost the game. That means there is something which needs to be developed and that basically boils down to a bit of fitness, a bit of exposure to playing quicker bowlers. That is what we are trying to simulate when we have the skill-development camp. There is no danger of lapsing into fear of failure. It is all about what kind of perception you have. Yes, you can say we have lost, so we are not good. But the point is that the only way from here is up. The difference has been in a couple of aspects and that is something that can be worked on. That's the encouraging part of it. It's not as if it was a total washout or they are totally inept. If they are a little better in terms of fitness and if they develop that extra strength over a period of time, I think whatever hiccups you have had, they may not occur as frequently. After all, let's not forget that in the last two years, there have been many good phases. The hiccups have been very minimal. Winning is always very desirable but even though the girls have lost, it is not a case of them losing their spirit or feeling that they are not up to it. They are nearly there, the last mile is something we need to do better.

There will be three teams and four matches during the Women's T20 Challenge next month. How important will these games be in identifying batting support for Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues?

The advantage of having three teams is that you will get to see more players. If you discover even one batter from the three teams that will be action during the tournament, that's a big gain. Quite obviously, we need to identify two or three batters to supplement the names you mentioned. Once that void is filled, I am sure this team will become a very, very formidable force because the bowlers have been doing extraordinarily well and even when these four main batters have fired, the opposition has struggled to keep them quiet. If we can have that second line or the supplementary strength in our batting line-up, things will be a lot better.

An area of interest when you took over was how you would handle the 'friction' between the captains of the two formats.

The girls, among themselves, have no issues at all. Let's face it: over a period of time, a little bit of irritation can creep in within a group or amongst members of a group, like it happens in any family. It is then a case of either you allow that to keep on going, or you try and squash it. The stance I took was that I believed that never happened. I started afresh, I did not take them back to that or repeatedly remind them of that or bring it up in any of our conversations, be it a collective conversation or amongst a few individuals. This is something I never went back to because there is no point sitting on what happened some months ago. I'd like to believe it was just a one-off incident that was capitalised upon by those outside of the team rather than by members of the team.

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