A new era is here in women’s cricket, with Hrishikesh Kanitkar taking over as the new batting coach of the Indian team, spearheaded by Harmanpreet Kaur. Ramesh Powar, who was in his second stint as the head coach will return to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) as the spin bowling coach.
There were plenty of rumours as to the decision revolving Powar but Indian skipper Harmanpreet cleared the air, stating that there were no growing differences between the players and Powar. The Indian skipper also added that it is BCCI’s decision.
“There was nothing like that (no differences). Whenever I have worked with him, I have always enjoyed it. As a team we have grown and we have learned a lot from him. It’s a BCCI decision that he has moved to the NCA and whenever we will be at the NCA, he will always be available,” Harmanpreet said on the eve of the first T20I.
Whilst there is no official statement, it is widely expected that Kanitkar will take over as the head coach of the national team. Harmanpreet applauded the wealth of experience that Kanitkar brings to the setup, and insisted that the team is looking forward to the road ahead.
Kanitkar's influence on the setup
“Had there been a new coach, it could have been a difficult, but since we have worked with Hrishi sir in the past, I don’t think there will be any problems. If a new person comes in, you need to explain a lot of things, but Hrishi sir already knows how we work, so there won’t be much changes,” she said.
“We had a very good experience with Hrishi sir when we toured Sri Lanka and when we were at the NCA, he was always available, whenever we needed his help. Hrishi sir brings in a lot of experience to the team and we are looking forward and focusing on the road ahead. We are in the right hands, and whatever decision the BCCI takes, we are okay with it,” she added.
One of India’s biggest concerns over the last year and half has been posting big totals. But one of the notable improvements in India’s last series was their ability to bounce back from tough situations with a good score. Harmanpreet credits Kanitkar for that notable improvement in the batting department.
“We discussed with him how to achieve our targets and we spoke about setting those small targets. He helped us in terms of how to execute plans. There were times on that tour, when we lost early wickets, but we bounced back and scored big totals. He helped us in understanding how to bat in those circumstances.
“In Sri Lanka, we seen that side of Hrishi sir. When we heard that he will be the coach for the Australia series and even beyond that, there was a positivity in the team. We really liked the way he worked with us in Sri Lanka.”
On equal pay
It has been a while since BCCI’s decision of an equal pay for both men’s cricketers and women’s cricketers in the country. Harmanpreet reacted on the same, stating that the “outstanding decision” is a welcome change, and reckoned that is the first of steps for the improvement of the game for women in the country.
“It’s an outstanding decision taken by the BCCI. As a sportsperson, we always want to get that recognition, and equal pay will bring a lot of motivation for the current players and the upcoming stars. The motivation given by the BCCI gives us a lot of responsibility because whenever we go out to play now, we know many people are watching us. We want to give our 100 per cent,” Harmanpreet said.
Harmanpreet also spoke on the women’s IPL, stating that these things are invaluable for domestic cricketers, and reckoned that it is the first step of a lot of things for women’s cricket.
“Domestic cricket is very important. Now, the Women’s IPL is coming, and all those things will be important for domestic cricketers. There is money involved, and with that we will get a lot of good domestic matches. Things will come to you. We just need to perform.”