Team should be ready for T20 World Cup by time Asia Cup starts, says India-Women coach Muzumdar

Bengaluru, June 14 (IANS): Ahead of the start of the multi-format series against South Africa, India women’s team head coach Amol Muzumdar said his aim is to ensure that the side is ready to play the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh by the time the team is to depart for playing Asia Cup in Sri Lanka.

This year’s Women’s T20 World Cup will be played in Bangladesh from October 3-20. “That continuity is very important in the few months leading up to the World Cup. In this series, the format that we are playing is the ODI format first, then the Test match and then the last one is T20I. So, it is a very well-scheduled series.”

“We are going to Asia Cup, which is again T20Is. So, by Asia Cup, we should be ready for the World Cup. Then we have a lay-off of about 7-7.5 weeks before we head off to Bangladesh. So, I think it is a very well-thought-out series and really looking forward to it,” he said to reporters at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.

India’s last international assignment saw them beat Bangladesh 5-0 at Sylhet, the venue where they will return to in October to play its T20 World Cup group stage games against defending champions Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

Muzumdar also talked about the extensive preparation undertaken by the team for the World Cup. “We have had a fantastic preparation in the last eight weeks. We went to Bangladesh and we had the desired result 5-0, we won the T20I series. We also practiced over there in the same ground where we would be playing the World Cup.”

“So, we have had some good preparation. We also had a couple of camps before this series. We had a split camp -- the bowlers' camp was held at NCA here in Bengaluru, while the batters' camp was held in Navi Mumbai. So, it was a concentrated camp and we had the fruitful desired results from them.”

For now, Muzumdar’s immediate focus is to win the series against South Africa, starting from ODIs, a format where India drew 1-1 with Bangladesh last year, before losing 3-0 to Australia earlier in the year. At the same time, he’s focused on improving the skills and fitness parameters.

“I think South Africa has always been a competitive side. There is no doubt about it, that it will be a good series. We are looking forward to the series. I am certain that it will be a very competitive, well-fought, hard-fought series and we are looking forward to it.”

“Well, the first part is that we need to win the series. But at the same time, we will definitely look into certain aspects. When I took over last December, we had said that fielding and fitness have been the cornerstone and we have been driving that message to the group.”

“They have responded really nicely to that. There are some objectives within that we need to have a good white ball series, as well as the Test match. We cannot say that only white ball we will concentrate. There is a Test match to be played after this series. So, (playing) all formats is a very good sign for women's cricket.”

“Definitely, batting is our strength. But not to forget that bowling has always won us the game. So, it's a mix of both departments and fielding is something, I have always mentioned about it as a work in progress and we are working very hard towards it. Trust me, you will see some results out of it,” he elaborated.

With plenty of time left for the Women’s ODI World Cup happening in India next year, Muzumdar wishes to sort out the ideal combination in the 50-over format. “We have got a 16-member squad. Every member is equally important. It is not that we are going to try out a few things.”

“We will play the best possible combination that we think of on that particular day and for that particular match. So, it is about getting the combination right in the ODIs. When we went to Bangladesh, we did find the right combination in the T20Is. So, for ODIs, we would like to play the best possible eleven.”

Muzumdar signed off by hoping the ODI series to be a usual Bengaluru pitch, and for crowd support to be there for the hosts. “I have not had a great look. This is the first time I am having a look at the pitch. It looks typical Bengaluru pitch.”

“So, we expect some good cricket and we expect some good crowd to turn up here at the Chinnaswamy because we saw it in the WPL. I am sure everyone will support us and come in large numbers.”


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Title: Team should be ready for T20 World Cup by time Asia Cup starts, says India-Women coach Muzumdar

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