Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], December 9 (ANI): Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur praised the newly appointed batting coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar, saying that he brings much-needed calm presence and experience to the side and the team is in good hands under him.
Kanitkar was appointed as the team's batting coach ahead of the home series against Australia, which will start on Friday and comprises of five T20Is. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) moved Ramesh Powar, the team's head coach to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) as a spin bowling coach, in what they described as part of a "restructuring module". This brings an end to Powar's second stint as head coach of the women's team.
"I have always enjoyed working with Ramesh sir and we have grown as a team under him and learnt a lot. It is a BCCI decision to move him to NCA and have him work as a spin-bowling coach. Hrishi sir is there with us and we had a very good experience with him in Sri Lanka. He brings in a lot of experience and we are only looking forward. We are in right hands," ESPNCricinfo quoted Kaur as saying ahead of the match.
"[Kanitkar] is calm and we needed someone who can give us the calmness on the field. We have seen in the past, sometimes in crucial situations, girls need support of some calm figure who can guide them through their thoughts. Having experienced it all in Sri Lanka, when we came to know he would be around for the Australia series, there was a lot of positivity in the team.""As a batting unit, he helped us achieve our targets. There were some games in Sri Lanka where we lost early wickets but still we were able to score 250. Everybody was happy with the way he was presenting things to us," the skipper concluded her point.
Kanitkar, who recently was part of India men's side during the tour of New Zealand, had worked as a batting consultant with the women's team during the tour of Sri Lanka this year. India had won the T20I series by 2-1 and the ODI series by 3-0.
Notably in that series, during the third ODI, India managed to score 255/9 in their innings despite being 124/6 at one point, thanks to a 97-run stand between Harmanpreet and Pooja Vastrakar.
Powar was also at helm between June-November 2018, during which India made it to semifinal of the ICC T20 World Cup 2018. In his latest tenure with the team, Women in Blue exited the 50-over World Cup in group stages, but won silver medal in Commonwealth Games and captured the Asia Cup trophy as well. Pawar's highly-accomplished run includes an ODI series win in England and a win in Australia that put an end to Aussies' 26-match unbeaten run at home.
Though it is still not official if someone will fill shoes of Powar as head coach, but under Kanitkar, Harmanpreet is pretty confident about her team's preparations leading upto ICC T20 World Cup, which is two months away.
"If it would have been a new coach, it could have been difficult. But we have already worked with Hrishi sir, so I do not think there will be problems. With a new coach, you have to explain about how we are working and how we want to move forward. But Hrishi sir already knows the type of work and that is not going to change much. We want to continue playing the way we have done in the last three months and I don't think we'd be changing much in the way we play," said the skipper.
For the series against Australia, India has left out of the squad the all-rounder Sneh Rana and Dayalan Hemalatha and Kiran Navgire, with the latter two being part of the set-up as finishers.
Anjali Sarvani, who impressed by topping bowling charts in Senior Women's T20 Trophy and Senior Women's Inter-Zonal T20 Trophy has received her maiden call-up. This series also marks the return of leg-spin all-rounder Devika Vaidya to the T20I team after eight years.
Harmanpreet clarified that doors were not closed on Sneh and domestic performers were given rewards for their hard-work and consistent performances.
"If you talk about Anjali, she took highest wickets and the others have done well too. Selection depends on your performances and those who have done well are in the team. Sneh Rana and all are good players; in the upcoming tournaments whenever they will do well, they will come back. We are having an eye on them. It is not like if today they are not in the side, we are ignoring them. They are part of the system and when they perform, they will come back," said the skipper.
Harmanpreet Kaur also confirmed that Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh will not be a part of series against Australia. Both will be playing in the inaugural under-19 Women's T20 World Cup starting from next month. They will also be missing the tri-nation series against West Indies and South Africa in the lead-up to T20 WC.
"Before [the India Under-19 camp] if they get a chance to play against Australia it will help their confidence," she said. "Till the camp is announced, they will play and then they will join the Under-19 camp as Shafali is leading. When we will play the tri-series in South Africa, they are definitely not available because they will be playing the Under-19 World Cup," signed off Harmanpreet.
India will play their first T20I match against Australia on December 9 at the D.Y. Patil Stadium while the second match will take place on December 11 at the same venue. Both teams will move on to the Brabourne Stadium for the third, fourth and fifth T20I which will be held on December 14, 17 and 20 respectively.
India's squad for the T20I series against Australia: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia (wicket-keeper), Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Renuka Singh Thakur, Meghna Singh, Anjali Sarvani, Devika Vaidya, S Meghana, Richa Ghosh (wicket-keeper) and Harleen Deol. (ANI)