India head coach Ramesh Powar said that opener Smriti Mandhana will be made captain of India very soon, but was unsure which format she will lead as it is up for her discussion. Mandhana finished top scorer for India in the tour of Australia with 362 runs from 9 innings at an average of 40.22, which also included a historic 127 in the maiden day-night women's Test last month.
"We are always looking at her (Mandhana) as leader. She has been the vice-captain and some day she will lead this side. I dont know which format. BCCI, selectors and I will discuss it and decide," Powar said on Sunday following India's 5-11 loss of the multi-format series Down Under.
"There was no doubt she had the talent. The only thing we told her was to spend time in the middle and she performed very well. We take pride in the way she played in the pink-ball Test as it inspires a lot of girls in the team who look up to her," he added.
Powar felt that the team's pace bowling performances were the main focus in the tour. He praised Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar and Renuka Singh for their contributions alongside assisting senior pacer Jhulan Goswami.
"After coming back from the UK tour, we set some goals. We wanted the fast bowlers to support Jhulan. We did that with the way Meghna, Pooja and Renuka bowled. We wanted to have a pace batter which we could carry forward into the World Cup," he said.
With Mithali Raj and Goswami in the twilight of their careers, Powar said that the tours of UK and Australia were a big step for youngsters to establish themselves.
"We are at a juncture where Mithali and Jhulan are going to fade away at some point. So playing England and Australia gives the young players the chance to play well and build their careers. It was a great opportunity for them," Powar said.
India's T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur said that the consistent performances of keeper-batter Richa Ghosh and pacer Pooja Vastrakar's were the biggest positives for Indian in their three-format tour of Australia.
India lost the multi-format series 5-11 after losing the ODI series 1-2 and T20I series 0-2 while the one-off day-night Test ended in a draw. Vastrakar was the top wicket-taker across three formats with 10 wickets from 8 innings at an average of 25, while Ghosh scored 129 runs from 7 innings including a controlled 44 in the third ODI which was crucial for India's win.
"The result wasn't in our favour but we have good players like Pooja Vastrakar and Richa Ghosh. So we can take a lot of positives and we are on the right track. Thanks to our support staff, they really stood for us," the captain said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Harmanpreet, who will be a part of the WBBL beginning next week with Melbourne Renegades, expressed her excitement to play as she gears up to make her fourth appearance in the competition.
"I'm very excited (for WBBL). It's a great opportunity for us to grow as a team. If we can play more matches before international series, it will help us."
Southern Stars captain Lanning said, "We knew India would come back hard. It's been a great series, both sides have had momentum. India have really tested us and given us a great challenge."
Player of the match and series, Tahlia McGrath said, "It's been unreal to be part of, loving wearing the Aussie shirt again. I haven't played T20 at this level before, but batting is batting. See ball, hit ball."