Sunday, June 26, 2022

Women’s T20 Challenger: Trailblazers captain Smriti Mandhana working on playing more shots and T20 game ahead of WT20 opener

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Women’s T20 Challenger: Star India opener Smriti Mandhana on Sunday said she has been working on her T20 game and looking to play more strokes, keeping in mind the number of shortest format matches scheduled in the next 12 months. Follow Women’s T20 Challenger updates on InsideSport.IN

“Personally I have been working on my T20 cricket since we have lot of T20s to play this year. So, trying to play little bit more shots then I used to playing,” she said.

Women’s T20 Challenger: Trailblazers captain Smriti Mandhana working on playing more shots and T20 game ahead of WT20 opener

Also read: Women IPL T20 Challenge: Mithali Raj, cricket experts & fans blasts BCCI for ‘STRESSFUL SCHEDULING’ of Women IPL T20 Challenge, Check Why?

Mandhana will be leading the defending champions Trailblazers at the Women’s T20 Challenge, scheduled to be held from May 23 to 28 at the MCA Stadium here.

“We had a good T20 domestic season, so just looking to continue with this tournament. I’m not thinking about how I will be going about it but I will just try to enjoy it as much as I can,” she said.

Talking about her side’s opening match against Supernovas on Monday, Mandhana said the spin duo of Sophie Ecclestone and Alana King will pose a challenge but they have their own plans in place.

“…we have our strategies ready, they have a good bowling unit especially the spin line up with Sophie (Ecclestone) and (Alana) King.”

Women's T20 Challenger: Trailblazers captain Smriti Mandhana working on playing more shots and T20 game ahead of WT20 opener
Women’s T20 Challenger: Trailblazers captain Smriti Mandhana working on playing more shots and T20 game ahead of WT20 opener

Asked if there is any pressure going into the tournament as the defending champions, Mandhana said: “Not really, it is a pretty short tournament. You always get a new team, so definitely not thinking about it and putting unnecessary pressure on ourself, but yeah it would be good to defend the title.”

Women’s T20 Challenger: Trailblazers captain Smriti Mandhana working on playing more shots and T20 game ahead of WT20 opener

Mandhana also was effusive in her praise for Maharashtra’s unheralded pacer Shraddha Pokharkar, who is one of the new talents in her squad.

“I think three or four years back I saw Shradda (Pokharkar), I always thought she has good potential and now when I saw her one month back, she was brilliant in nets.

“She hits good length and she has a good height, so it is not easy to hit her length. She has a great slower one which is a really big weapon when you play T20, so looking forward to see how she progresses further.”

Good platform for Mansi to get back to India team: Harmanpreet

Supernovas captain Harmanpreet Kaur feels the Women’s T20 Challenge will serve as a good platform for seamer Manshi Joshi to prove herself and earn her place back in the Indian team.

The 28-year-old Joshi from Punjab, who had missed the 2020 edition of the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19, last played for India in March last year.

Joshi played three WODIs against South Africa at home but didn’t find a place in the series against England and Australia and also missed out on a spot in India’s World Cup squad.

Women’s T20 Challenger: Trailblazers captain Smriti Mandhana working on playing more shots and T20 game ahead of WT20 opener

“Last time, unfortunately, she didn’t get a chance to play but this time she did well in the domestic season and now in the net sessions also she was looking really nice. It is a great opportunity for her,” Harmanpreet said during a virtual press-conference.

“For a long time she was not part of the Indian side and now if she gets a chance, it is a great platform where you can perform and gates are open for the Indian team.

“I am actually very positive the way she is bowling at the net, I hope she will get a chance to play and prove herself.”

Harmanpreet said Supernovas have a very “balanced” side.

“We do have a few new faces in our side and we try our best to bond and though giving opportunities to all is not possible but still we will try to give as much as possible.

“We have a good team and I am really looking forward to a positive season.”

Australian spinner of Anglo-Indian descent, Alan King will be part of the Supernovas and Harmanpreet said she has discussed with her about her plans in the tournament.

“I did discuss with her about her bowling plans, where she is comfortable in bowling. She is someone who has done well during the world cup and even before that.

“It is a great positive for us having someone like her and I am very happy that she is open to ideas. She is ready to bowl before and after the powerplay, so it gave me a lot of confidence. I can use her wherever the team requires her.”

Women’s T20 Challenger: Trailblazers captain Smriti Mandhana working on playing more shots and T20 game ahead of WT20 opener

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