Hyderabad: Regarded as a good student of the game, WV Raman has grown in stature as a coach. Now guiding the Indian women’s cricket, the wily Raman took over as coach when the team was in crisis, thanks to the ouster of the controversial Ramesh Powar and the `rift’ between Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur.
The 54-year-old former Indian international has since then put a successful system in place in the team. “It has been so far good. What I had set up and it is happening. I have put a lot of things in place. I gave a lot of attention to fitness because that is the key to succeed at the highest level. These talented cricketers needed to believe in themselves. The girls are now more confident lot. They will go up notches higher in the future,’’ said Raman in an interview to this paper.
Fresh from the highly successful West Indies series, where India won 2-1 in the one-dayers and swept the T20 series 5-0, Raman believes that this team has the ability to conquer the world. The next year’s T20 World Cup will be an exciting opportunity for the girls.
“They have tasted success in terms of getting to the final and semifinal stages in the past. They know they can do it as they have the ability to do so. Now it is an exciting opportunity for all the girls to excel at bigger stage. They are bonding well even though they started badly at the start of the year in T20 series. We have been working on the deficiencies. We had series win in South Africa and West Indies. There is a lot of hustle-bustle in the team now. The approach will become more aggressive and intensive in future.’’
Raman feels Australia will be the ideal place where the Indian women can create history. “The pitches in Australia will suit our girls. Now they have got the opportunity to create history. It is more than a challenge and to create history. They can become super stars. They are on the cusp of history what Kapil Dev’s men did in 1983. They have a chance to win the Cup,’’ said a confident coach.
The former Tamil Nadu left-hander went gaga over Mithali Raj’s phenomenal run in international cricket. “She is an example to any young cricketer or any other sports persons to emulate because even today her work ethics is exemplary. The diligence she shows in her preparation for any new series is something that a lot of youngsters need to learn from her. To sustain and motivate for a period of 20 long years speaks volumes of the individual. Even today she ensures every aspect of her training goes off meticulously. She is still hungry for runs.’’
This team, according to Raman, is a team of different generations. “We have Mithali who has played for 20 years, Harmanpreet for 10 years, Smriti for five six years. Now we have Shefali who is just 15 years. If we talk about Mithali she would try to stay as long as possible. Now the players want to score from first delivery. That is how the women’s cricket is evolving now.’’
Despite limited opportunities in the past be at domestic or international level, India played bravely against big teams like Australia or England. “The fact is that they played lesser cricket as compared to England and Australian teams. Now with the BCCI bringing in India A and under-23 tour and in another three years, our girls will get to play more cricket and dominate world cricket in future.’’
Although India have good spinners, Raman thinks the team needs a few fast bowlers like the men’s team. “We need to keep improving in different departments. It is time we have look for fast bowlers. The Indian pace bowlers should be an inspiration to young women pace bowlers in the country. If we get three or four medium pacers, I think we will a good all-round side as we have couple of batters, who can strike and dominate the attack.’’
He said he has been encouraging his players to play fearless cricket. “Smriti (Mandhana))and Jemimah Rodrigues are skillful. They love their batting. They enjoy the life, both on and off the field.’’
Talking about the young talent Shefali Verma, Raman said the 15-year-old is a natural striker of the balls. “She whacks the ball long and hard. I told her the way she knows how to play. Let her evolve herself.’’