“We are looking to win the series and not just as the audition for new faces.” © AFP
Smriti Mandhana may be embarking on a new journey as captain of the Indian cricket team for the T20I series against England, but the star batter has no illusions the challenges that will follow.
Mandhana has been chalked in to lead the side in the three T20Is starting Monday after an ankle injury ruled regular captain Harmanpreet Kaur out of the series. Speaking on the eve of the opening game in Guwahati, where all three T20s will be played, Mandhana asserted that her preparations for the games will not change due her change in role. She added that, now as the vice-captain, she will take extra effort to talk to the bowlers more.
“As a vice-captain in the last two years, I have been attending meetings about all the planning. I knew already what we were going to do when I was not the captain. I’ll make an extra effort to speak to bowlers. It’s going to be same,” Mandhana said on Sunday (March 3).
“I’ve played under a lot of captains. I’ve been able to learn a lot. For me as a captain, it’s important to be a player’s captain. It should be what they want out of me. And not what I tell them what I want. I want to help every teammate in growing. That’s what I am looking forward to.”
India come into the series on the back of a 2-1 series win over England in the ODIs, and now Mandhana wants another series win in the T20Is. “We are looking to win the series and not just as the audition for new faces. We are going in to win the series. First goal is that. If we win the series, we will also find new faces for the World Cup.”
She also said that they will use the series to ensure their team starts shaping up for the better ahead of the T20 World Cup, especially in the batting department. The T20 World Cup will take place in Australia in 2020. “(WV) Raman sir and I have spoken about things we have lacked. And also about how our batting order will shape up in the World Cup. Just to see where all the players will be in the 6-8 months. The players who have been playing will have to take more responsibility. We have discussed the batting and hopefully, it’ll come good tomorrow.”