CWG 2022: Mighty Australia first up for Harmanpreet’s India

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Left reeling after two of their players, S Meghna and allrounder Pooja Vastrakar, were struck by Covid-19, India’s women’s cricket team members face an uphill task when they takes on seven-time ODI world champions and hot favourites Australia in their opening game at Edgbaston on Friday.

In an encouraging development, it has emerged that Meghna has recovered and has flown to Birmingham. She was slate to join the squad late on Thursday night, and should be available for the opener. However, Vastrakar is likely to be in quarantine till Saturday. Even if she flies to England on Sunday, she will only be available for India’s last league game against Barbados on Wednesday.

Before the tough opener against the Aussies, the current world champions, India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, in an innovative training drill, was seen practising with a golf club.
Explaining why she swapped the bat for a driver, Harmanpreet said on Thursday: “Whenever I go out to bat at the nets, I use a golf club so that I can warm myself up. In T20s, there are times when you need to go and hit from the first ball, so it is important to be fit and that was the whole idea.

“My trainer introduced me to this practice. There are times when you go into a match and need to go big right from the start and that could lead to chances of injury. That was the reason he advised me to train with the golf club before walking out to bat. That helps me for my wrist and shoulder warm-up and by the time I get a chance to bat, it helps me in swinging the bat better.”

The captain said that her team was also excited about the much-anticipated clash against Pakistan on Sunday. “When we were growing up, there was a passion every time the men’s team took on Pakistan. But you don’t think about these things when you are playing, your only focus is on how you can do well,” Harmanpreet said.

This is only the second time since the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur that cricket has been included in the CWG, and the first occasion when women’s cricket is a part of these games. In the 1998 CWG the men’s competition was played in the 50-over format. The matches were given List ‘A’ status only.

This time, the tournament will be played in the T20 format. India are in Group ‘A’ along with Australia, Pakistan and Barbados, while Group ‘B’ comprises England, South Africa, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. After the Australia clash in their opener, they play Pakistan on July 31.

Source By – The Times of India

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