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regular-article-logo Thursday, 20 June 2024

World Cup: Richa Ghosh takes guard for power-hitting

Her numbers in her maiden WBBL stint weren’t really outstanding, as she aggregated 162 runs in 14 appearances

Sayak Banerjee Calcutta Published 08.01.22, 02:45 AM
richa Ghosh

richa Ghosh File Photo

The obvious delight on coming to know of her inclusion in the World Cup squad aside, Richa Ghosh was quick to tell herself about the things she needs to focus on going forward. Power-hitting is one of them.

Aware that expectations will be higher this time than when they were when she was selected for the Women’s T20 World Cup in 2020, the 18-year-old India wicketkeeper-batter constantly pushes herself to work further on a couple of aspects crucial to her game — bat speed and timing. Precisely, these were among Richa’s areas of focus even in this season’s Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), where she represented Hobart Hurricanes.

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For the time being, given the surge in Covid-19 cases, the Baghajatin Athletic Club in Siliguri could be her centre of training.

“Look, I need to keep myself prepared as the bowler could bowl a slower or a quicker delivery. If it’s the slower one, I know that bat speed can help me. While if it’s fast, I have to rely on timing. So bat speed and timing were among the things that I really worked on during the WBBL.

“Besides, there’s extra bounce in the pitches in Australia, so those were two important aspects which needed to be given due importance,” Richa told The Telegraph from her residence in Siliguri.

Her numbers in her maiden WBBL stint weren’t really outstanding, as she aggregated 162 runs in 14 appearances at a strike rate of 95.29.

But it’s her overall experience in the competition which she’s banking on.

“I learnt a lot, especially from the overseas players since there are many of them having a different mentality altogether. It was also about how to adapt to various situations of the games, which were all quite competitive,” Richa, who is one of three Bengal cricketers (alongside Jhulan Goswami and Deepti Sharma) in the India World Cup squad, stressed.

The Women’s World Cup, to be held in New Zealand, starts from March 4 with India beginning their campaign versus Pakistan on March 6 in Mount Maunganui.

Richa’s ability as a clean hitter could well add to India’s strengths in the World Cup, believes Shib Shankar Paul, who’s currently the bowling coach of all Bengal squads and has also worked as the head coach of the senior Bengal women’s team.

“In Indian women’s cricket, after Harmanpreet Kaur, I think only Richa is capable of that stand-and-deliver stuff to clear the grounds. She has that power,” Paul, a former Bengal pacer, said.

The bigger grounds in Australia have also made Richa try and add more power to her strokes. “In India and New Zealand, grounds aren’t that big. So I had made that mental adjustment of giving an extra bit to get those big strokes when playing in Australia, as inability to do so could have brought about my dismissal,” Richa said.

The advice of Hurricanes women’s coach, Salliann Briggs, also serves as a constant motivation for Richa. “She always told me to concentrate on my own game. She used to say, ‘You have the power, so just play freely and stick to the game that comes naturally to you’.”

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