Uncapped power-hitters Kiran Prabhu Navgire and Dayalan Hemalatha, who are in the Indian squad for the upcoming white ball tour of England, can fill the “gaps the team was lacking” in slog overs, skipper Harmanpreet Kaur.
Navgire, who smashed the fastest fifty in the Women’s T20 Challenge in May, got her maiden India call-up for the three-match T20Is. Off-spin all-rounder Hemalatha was recalled after two years on the back of a strong domestic season to be named in both the T20I and ODI squads for the England tour.
“We have added two new batters KP (Navgire) and Hemlatha. We can work on these two players who have got that skill-set. They can bring a lot to the team,” Harmanpreet said in their pre-departure virtual media interaction.
“They have the power, the skill. If we can work on them and add some more skills to their personal game that would really help our team to fill in the gaps the team is lacking right now.” Maharashtra batter Navgire, who plays for Nagaland, first hogged the limelight with her unbeaten 162 against Arunachal Pradesh in the Senior Women’s T20 Trophy earlier this year before she was roped in by the Velocity team in the Women’s T20 Challenge.
Hemalatha, who last played a T20I in 2019, had a fruitful domestic season, finishing fourth on the T20 run charts with 272 runs — the highest for a player batting outside the top three.
“I’ve seen the way they batted in the domestic season. it’s the right platform for them to bring in something which team was lacking. No matter whatever format you play, you at least need six batters in the side,” Harmanpreet said. “We were lacking in the area because we didn’t have those batters in the side. But now we have added two more extra batters (KP and Hemlatha). We want to give them opportunity,” the Indian skipper added.
India’s tour of England begins on September 10 and features three T20Is and three ODIs. With the T20 World Cup due in February next year, Harmanpreet said the team management would look to give everyone “maximum opportunities” to identify the core of the side. “For me, I’m really excited to give an opportunity to the youngsters who have just entered the side. It’s very important to give equal chances to all the players. We have a good lot of about 30 players.
“Before the World Cup, if they can get equal chances, then you have a fair idea to select the team. We will definitely try some new things and at the same time give equal opportunities so we can make a good team.” Taniya Bhatia and Richa Ghosh are the two designated wicketkeepers for the T20I side as there was no room for Yastika Bhatia, who had made an appearance in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games final as a concussion substitute.
However, Yastika retained her place along with Taniya in the ODI squad. “Wicketkeepers’ roles are totally different in both the formats. In ODIs, you need someone who can bat longer, who can come and give you that quick start. That is the reason we are trying two different keepers in two formats,” Harmanpreet explained. The T20Is will be the Indian team’s first assignment since winning a historic silver medal at the Commonwealth Games earlier this month.”I wasn’t happy after losing the final… it was such a match, we could have easily won. But after we returned home with people appreciating our performances, I felt good.
“It felt really nice keeping in mind that it was our first Commonwealth Games and the way the team played overall was nice. We want to continue the same approach,” she concluded.