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WPL 2024: Want to create another pool of 20-25 players for the Indian team, says Amol Muzumdar

Author : IANS

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Bengaluru, Feb 28 (IANS) Amol Muzumdar, head coach of the India women's cricket team, sees the ongoing 2024 Women’s Premier League (WPL) as an opportunity to create a pool of players for the national team, including from a fast-bowling perspective.

“In the series against Australia and England, we fielded 22 players, owing to all three formats of the game being played. I would try to want another pool of 20-25 players to create a bench strength for the Indian team.

"I would also intend to create a pool of fast-bowlers from the WPL, as India fielded four fast bowlers in the last series against Australia and England. It makes a lot of difference if you strengthen the bowling attack with an ample pool of pacers and spinners," said Muzumdar on the Hindi commentary feed of Tuesday’s game between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Giants at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

While talking about his vision for strengthening fielding and fitness of the national team, Muzumdar also lauded Kerala’s batting all-rounder Sajana Sajeevan, who won Mumbai Indians the opening game of WPL 2024 with a six on the last ball of the game to get a four-wicket victory over the Delhi Capitals.

"Sajana Sajeevan's last-ball six in the opening match gives you an idea of the depth in Indian cricket, either men’s or women’s cricket. It was made clear in the first meeting to every player that fitness and fielding are the two things which are non-negotiable for me, even before the start of the two series and WPL as well.”

“To be at the top of these two aspects, a lot of hard work will be put in and every player is working hard for it. Plus, it’s not like just talks are happening, the thought has been seen in the WPL when the players are trying to put in the effort to become better fielders."

Muzumdar was also happy over seeing half-centuries from the batters like Meghana Sabbhineni, Richa Ghosh and Shafali Verma. "There is an upscale improvement in India's batters, like Meghana scored 50+ in her first WPL game (for RCB), as well as Richa Ghosh and Shafali Verma making half-centuries respectively. The confidence in their batting is on display after coming from how they performed in those two series against England and Australia."

He also thinks these are exciting times for women’s cricket in the country, seen from 23,000-plus people coming to watch Tuesday’s game in Bengaluru. “These are absolutely exciting times for women’s cricket in India. You can see the Chinnaswamy stadium being fully packed, which clearly tells you where women’s cricket is headed in the country.”

“We are keeping a lookout for the players who can perform in various situations at the WPL. Since the time WPL has come, many players have emerged from here. The more matches they play and more exposure they get through the WPL, the better they will become. After that, the finesse and match temperament will come automatically, in which WPL will play a crucial part.”

Muzumdar signed off by telling how Shubha Satheesh got her Test debut against England last year, who got a fifty on debut but missed the match against Australia due to a fractured finger. Shubha is currently with the RCB team in WPL 2024.

"I organised a red-ball match at the NCA here at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. It was a four-day warm-up match and Shubha Satheesh did very well there - she scored 99 and 50. She's a left-hander and bats well at number three.”

“After seeing her in the nets I had decided to bat her at number three, following which she was picked in the 15-member squad. Not many players had seen her at the time and I'll thank Harman (India captain Harmanpreet Kaur) because she agreed for the call immediately."

--IANS

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