Jemimah Rodrigues knows her game better than anybody else. The 21-year-old knows she is not a power-hitter and doesn't try to copy batters like Harmanpreet Kaur, Shafali Verma or Smriti Mandhana. However, that doesn't stop her from contributing to the team's success.
Rodrigues played an important role in India's thumping 100-run victory in a must-win game against Barbados with an immensely important knock of 56 off 46 balls, which was different from the way some of the other big-hitters operate. Thanks to her, the Women in Blue have now qualified for the semi-finals of the women's T20 cricket at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
"Definitely I've worked on my power game, but more than that, I've understood my game better. I'm not a power-hitter, I'm a placer. I can hit the singles and doubles well; I know how to manoeuvre the field. I think that is my strength. My game is not very flashy, but even without that, I end up with a good strike rate. That is what I realised I don't have to be someone else; I have to be Jemimah Rodrigues to score. This is what has helped me," the right-hander said after the game.
"Smriti had told me long back in the IPL (Women's T20 Challenge) in 2019 that you don't have to be a Harmanpreet Kaur or a Smriti Mandhana, you have to be a Jemimah Rodrigues. I think I have understood that role and it's helping me. The team has given me a role, if I can play that role, it doesn't matter how other people look at it. If the dynamics suit our team, we have Shafali, Smriti, Harman, so I just want to play the best role I want to play for the team."
She also highlighted the equation shared between her and head coach Ramesh Power and the latter's role in promoting her at number three, which she believes, is her ideal position to flourish. "Ramesh sir had told me after the last game to be prepared for No. 3.
"Honestly, when I was preparing, I was ready for both. Even when I was preparing in the nets, with our side-arm specialist, I was prepared for both, because you never know, the team can need me anywhere and I should be ready for that. But definitely, I love No. 3, it's my position. (I'm) glad I got to play there and contribute to the team, contribute to the plan, and it worked out well for the team."
The Mumbai-born cricketer also went on to add that the opportunities she got at The Hundred tournament for the Northern Superchargers last year has played a pivotal role in helping her grasp the English conditions and given her ample confidence to perform at the CWG in Birmingham. She slammed 249 runs in seven innings at a strike rate of 150.90 and has never looked back since then.
"The best thing about the Hundred was the opportunity to get to play in English conditions, which I wouldn't have gotten normally. Not just that, taking on the world's best bowlers. Any match, even if it's a domestic game, I think when you go out there and score runs, you get confidence. And that is what happened to me.
"I was blessed that I got to play for the Northern Superchargers. I had a good season there, and I just wanted to continue that because the more I play, the better I do and the more I learn. I just want to apply that whenever I play for India."
(With inputs from PTI)