Women Power: Indian eves ready for Windies challenge

| February 14, 2012

At a time when the Indian men’s cricket team was fighting a strong battle to regain lost pride Down Under, it’s time for their women counterparts to achieve something for the country when they travel to the West Indies for five Twenty20 and three One-Day International matches.

This tour can prove to be very important for India as the Twenty20 World Cup is scheduled to be held in the latter half of this year and the 50-over World Cup next year.  For the Indian eves, the journey to achieve success in both the events could very well begin from the West Indies.

The Indian selectors had already made some drastic changes to the side.

Anjum Chopra

All-rounder Jhulan Goswami has been replaced as skipper by Anjum Chopra, a move that has raised quite a storm in the country. Chopra was out of international cricket for nearly two years now, but the selectors were impressed by the way she led her side in the domestic tournaments lately. While some have welcomed the change, others felt it was a policy of “looking back” rather than forward for Indian cricket. They argue if Goswami had to be removed somebody younger, rather than veteran Chopra, should have been given the responsibility to lead the side.

It remains to be seen whether the team will be able to tide over this controversy and play as a unit in the West Indies.

Days before taking the flight to Windies, Goswami tried to shrug off the controversy.

“I had always enjoyed my job as the captain and it was a big honour for me. I always tried to give my best and support my team. It was up to the selectors to take a call on captaincy and they have made it,” she said.

Even she promised to support her captain. “Look Anjum is a very good player and a very efficient leader. I made my international debut under her captaincy. I am sure the selectors have taken the right decision,” Goswami said.

But she made it clear that she is not going to the West Indies to prove a point.

“I’ve never played to prove anything to anyone. Cricket is my passion and playing for India in itself is a big responsibility. I am not thinking about captaincy,” she spelled out clearly.

At the same time she gave due importance to the tour also. “We are not taking the West Indies tour just as a warm up exercise. We need to win the series as our overseas record is not too good,” she said.

Jhulan, who has loads of experience of playing international cricket, sees the West Indies as a good side.

“West Indies are a very good side. Rather I should say it is an improved side. We played against them earlier but this time there are a lot of young players and they are a talented lot. We are not planning anything for any particular player but for the whole team. We just need to execute our plans on the field,” she said.

However, the all-rounder from the suburbs of Kolkata city, on the eastern side of India, was looking forward to visit the Caribbean. “We got very little opportunity to have a glimpse of the region (West Indies) during our last visit there. Last time we stayed at St Kitts & Nevis and St Lucia. This time we will stay at different places but will surely try to find some time from our hectic schedule to see other countries in the West Indies,” Goswami wished.

Talking about the West Indies, Goswami said “They have beautiful beaches. The food is also very different from what we have in India. We Indians generally love spicy food but the taste of their food is quite different. Yet I love their cuisine.”

She also got a chance to mingle with the West Indies local people during their last visit there and she loved the whole experience.

“I personally love the West Indian people. They are very passionate about cricket and gather in large numbers to watch the matches. I have found the people to be very simple, emotional and fun loving. They are very friendly too,” Goswami recalled.

When the West Indies last toured India in January 2011, both the ODI and Twenty20 series went down to the wire, with India winning the ODI series 3-2 and the Twenty20 series 2-1.

New skipper Chopra anticipated another hard battle.
“It’s definitely going to be a good and tough series. Last time, when they were here, the games were pretty close. The West Indies have improved a lot in the last year or so. There will be good competition,” she said.

The stage is set for some mouth-watering battles.

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