The first game in Lucknow will also be Harmanpreet’s 100th ODI

The first game in Lucknow will also be Harmanpreet’s 100th ODI © Getty
On March 8, 2020, India women played in the World T20 final against Australia. Almost a year later, India will play their first international game since that tournament against South Africa in an ODI. The constantly evolving Covid-19 situation has meant that India have been bereft of international cricket for long.
Harmanpreet Kaur, one of India’s mainstays, believes that the players aren’t feeling rusty and are ‘excited’ to once again take the field. “I don’t think we are feeling any rustiness, but we are very excited. I know it is a long break for us, but sometimes things aren’t under your control… we are very excited,” she said in the presser.
With India having not played for long, there is always a chance of a few players struggling with their fitness. When the Indian men’s team returned to competitive cricket, a slew of players suffered injuries in the IPL 2020 and in Australia. Harmanpreet though was confident that India would be ready for the series and commended the support staff for doing a fine job. “See when you’re playing cricket back-to-back, there are chances that you would get injured, we are very lucky that we have a great support staff, throughout the tournament, throughout my career, they have always supported, and we are very lucky we have that.”
The game in Lucknow will also turn out to be Harmanpreet’s 100th ODI. The 31-year-old, who made her ODI debut against West Indies in 2009, has had a distinguished career, aggregating 2372 runs. Harmanpreet said that she has grown as a person and would look to share her experiences of going through a fair share of ups and downs to her team-mates. “First of all thanks for reminding me, I didn’t know. Yes, I will be very excited because first of all playing after a long time and my 100th ODI.
“I think both things will give me a lot of energy to play and I hope I will do well. If you talk about as a person, I have learnt a lot, because I have seen lots of ups and downs. So I hope whatever experience I have got through cricket, I can share it with my team-mates. I hope with my experience whenever they go through downfall… what I have learnt I can carry forward, that is all I want to do as a player.”
For the limited overs series, India left out their experienced pacer Shikha Pandey. Harmanpreet pointed out that the Indian set-up wanted to try out new players and Pandey is still in the fray to be selected again. “Sometimes, you need to give chances to other players, so (she) isn’t dropped, we are just giving rest to a few players and we just want to try other players. We are playing after a long time, we wanted to go with the same combination but at the same time you know… sometimes you have to give chances to other players.”