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Coach WV Raman impressed by teenager Shafali Verma's T20 WC heroics; backs Harmanpreet Kaur as leader

Indian team at the final of the ICC Women
Indian team at the final of the ICC Women's T20 Cricket World Cup
Aakash Arya
Modified 19 Mar 2020, 16:22 IST

Indian women's team coach WV Raman showered praise on the young side's tremendous effort to reach the finals, losing to hosts Australia eventually. Speaking to mid-day, Raman expressed his happiness over the team's entire T20 WC campaign, however, he simultaneously pointed out certain areas of concern that needed to be addressed soon.

India won the first four group stage matches, which also included beating Australia in the opener, but a washout in the semi-finals against England meant that India had a seven-day gap before they faced Australia in the finals at the MCG.

Raman agreed to the fact that the situation and the presence of 86,174 people at the ground had an overwhelming impact on a young Indian side who went as favorites, looking at the form they were in.

"See, we can dissect such things as much as we want which is what is generally done after an event. I think more or less if things don't go your way for the first 30 to 40 minutes in a T20 game, it is very difficult to come back. Let's not forget that we were beaten by arguably the best side in women's cricket. They were better than us on that particular day."
Indian women
Indian women's team coach WV Raman

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Speaking about teenager Shafali Verma's heroics at the top of the batting order, Raman showered praised on the 16-year-old girl for handling the biggest stage in world cricket with quite some success. Verma scored 163 runs in five matches at an impressive T20 average of 32.60 with 18 fours and 9 sixes.

"The fact is that at a young age and on a big stage in a World Cup, she has done well. That's an indication of her talent and temperament. She will work things out as she goes along because she is only going to get better. We should not try and tell her that this is how she should go, this is the route she has to take or this is how she has to mould herself. Let her continue playing her cricket."
Harmanpreet Kaur
Harmanpreet Kaur

Having failed throughout the event with the bat, Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur received a lot of slack for her lousy shot-making. However, Raman backed the captain stating that her captaincy record was phenomenal in the WC and should be kept aloof from her batting stats. He said that Kaur is a classy batsman and a hard-hitter of the cricket ball and will make a strong and motivating statement once she reutrns.

"We should not compare these two things. As captain, she did a tremendous job. Let's not forget it is a pretty young side and T20 is something that these girls are still trying to figure out how to go about. It was a tough tour. The tri-nation series [before the T20 World Cup] was played against tougher sides. She handled the team quite well... The fact that she could motivate the team to do well despite her personal form [30 runs in five matches] not being at her best, speaks volumes about her character and leadership qualities. It is not easy when the personal domain is not its best."
Shafali Verma
Shafali Verma

In terms of areas to improve for the young team, Raman revealed that fitness was one aspect that needed to be worked upon in the coming future, along with speed and agility in the field and during running between the wickets.

"They need to step up on the fitness [front] a little more now because the base has been set. They need to build on this, which makes them even better on the field. They also need to improve on speed and agility."
Published 19 Mar 2020, 11:47 IST
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