I have been following the progress of the Sri Lankan and Pakistani teams. Both of them have defeated very good teams like England, New Zealand and South Africa, Mithali told The Indian Express. They are approaching the Asian Games on a high after a successful series. Bangladesh also performed very well against India. We are the favorites but I believe there will be a lot of competition in these Asian Games.
India will start their campaign on Thursday with a quarterfinal against a yet to be decided opponent. The real test will begin in the semifinals where the top four Asian nations, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are expected to be represented.
India’s potential semi-final will be against Bangladesh and that, as recent experience of the bilateral series has shown, will not be easy. Pakistan and Sri Lanka are likely to meet in the other semi-final. Nida Dar’s era of captaincy began with a 3-0 home win over T20 World Cup finalists South Africa, while ChamarAi Athapathu is no more Is a loner for the Lankans as she presided over a collective triumph in the match against England.
India, on the other hand, have been absent from the games after a dramatic end to the series against Bangladesh, which will see captain Harmanpreet miss the next two matches. While India’s squad selection has once again raised questions, the talent of its players is undeniable.
With an average age of 23.7 years, India has a young set of players who are keen to make it to the top step of the podium. Shafali Verma, Richa Ghosh and Titas Sadhu are three members of the team that won the U19 World Cup. There are a couple of promising players in Kanika Ahuja and Minnu Mani. Jemima Rodrigues is a veteran in terms of experience and has a good record against Asian opponents.
When you’re trying to build a team, especially a good second tier team, it’s better to infuse youth when you have seniors around. But even the youngsters in this squad have They have good experience and are seasoned players, saidla Mithali.
A herd without a shepherd
However, the team has been without a head coach for nine months now. Hrishikesh Kanitkar is back in charge on an interim basis, but not having a permanent cadre of assistants is not the best option for a team hoping to reach the next level in major competitions. The lack of playing time has been a concern of late, with rivals India approaching the match much more prepared.
Ideally, a team with a permanent coach works best, Mithali said. Then the captain and coach can share a common vision for the team. With frequent changes of coaches, that gets lost. Then you play one series after another. If you are building a team for a big event, you need to have a vision to show the players that this is what we are aiming for. There’s also tournament planning. With the World Cup coming up, I’m sure that is being considered.
In recent years, India has made significant strides in the women’sBut so far we have failed to win a major trophy or medal. Whether the Asian Games can be considered a major competition remains to be seen, but gold is a shot in the air for this team.
To be labeled as a favorite is one thing, but to actually have a medal around your neck is quite another, added Mithali. And for that you have to go through the process of doing the right things. India has to play to its potential, no one will give it easy. The way we played against Australia, we need to keep improving in all matches, raising our level. This tournament, if India can win gold, will help us moving forward. A gold medal will be a big boost for us.
India’s squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Smriti Mandhana (VC), Shafali Verma, Jemima Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh (wk), Amanjot Kaur, Devika Vaidya, Titas Sadhu, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Minnu Mani, Kanika Ahuja, Uma Chetri (wk), Anusha Bareddy, Pooja Vastrakar.