Powar says with India ‘evolving’ in T20Is, player roles in the XI will be fluid


One day after India’s semi-final against England at the Commonwealth Games, head coach Ramesh Powar attributed the chopping and changing of player roles – and team compositions – to it being a team in development. In the first three matches, India has deployed all 15 team members en route to the knockout stage.

Returning to the Sri Lanka tour side after missing out on the Women’s World Cup, Jemimah Rodrigues batted at number 5 in the three-T20I series and also in the Commonwealth Games opener against Australia. She then walked away at number 4 against Pakistan with India on the eve of the win before moving to number 3 against Barbados. She made an unbeaten 56 – her first half-century T20I since November 2019 – to help India reach the semi-finals in a game you have to win.

“We are a team in development and processes and plans will evolve,” Powar said on the eve of the semi-finals. “We’re not going to put one player in one place and try to get the best out of them.

“As a team management we felt that Jemi is ready for this as she has been playing in England for a while in the Hundred or T20s. So we thought we would take a chance on her and promote her.”

Rodrigues played for Yorkshire Diamonds in the Kia Super League in 2019, where she scored 401 points – only second behind Danni Wyatt’s 466 – includes a century and two half centuries, striking at 149.62. In the inaugural season of the Hundred Women’s League, she finished on 249 runs – only ten shy by the leading go-getter Dane van Niekerk – with a strike rate of 150.90, hitting three half centuries with a best of 92 not out.

“It’s an evolving process and we’re learning every day,” Powar says. “We don’t get carried away by performances or failures. We try to give them space and if someone clicks, we try to continue with that player.”

While India chose Yastika Bhatia as their primary wicketkeeper in the squad and played her in the first two matches of the Commonwealth Games, Taniya replaced Bhatia in the XI against Barbados, scoring a grueling 6 from 13 balls. Yastika had held wickets in the last two T20Is of the Sri Lanka series with Taniya not being part of the squad.

Powar said Taniya’s inclusion was to have their best wicketkeeper play in crunch situations, where conditions can be tricky.

“When you come to a squad tournament, you’re done with the players and all 15 are available. It’s not a bilateral series where you give a player a chance to see how she handles the game,” Powar said. “We want to use everything we have in our arsenal. We felt that Taniya could be a game-changer as far as wicketkeeping is concerned because we have quality bowlers. Taniya has been very good with her goalkeeping over the past few years and that makes a difference.”

A day after securing their place in the semi-finals, India, who is not staying in the Games Village, visited the Village to watch other sports and interact with players from other disciplines. They interacted with Indian men’s hockey players PR Sreejesh and Manpreet Singh and also saw Murali Sreeshankar win silver in long jump gentlemen.

“It gives us goosebumps,” Powar said of the idea of ​​India winning a medal in cricket. “We watched the long jump of one of our athletes who gave us silver. That gave us the impression that the boy was trying very hard.

“Our job is to go out and try as hard as he does. We have seen him take the silver medal live and will put out our best performance to win a medal.” A win for India in the semi-final against England will secure them a medal, while a loss would leave them battling for bronze.