Thirush Kamini bullish on India's World Cup chances 

The Indian women's team in New Zealand. (PC: Getty Images)
The Indian women's team in New Zealand. (PC: Getty Images)

Indian women's cricketer Thirush Kamini Shankar hopes the Indian team can use the New Zealand ODI series as a perfect training period before the marquee World Cup.

The Women's World Cup is scheduled to be held in New Zealand from March 4.

The Indian women's team, led by Mithali Raj, played one T20 and will play five ODIs against the White Ferns before the World Cup. However, they haven't been able to win a match yet on the tour. They lost the T20 by 18 runs and lost the first ODI by 62 runs.

Thirush Kamini, however, believes it is only a matter of time before the Indian team finds form.

"I think we are slowly building up well. We are getting acclimatized to the conditions and considering how well we did against Australia in the last game, we should step up when it matters," she told Sportskeeda in an exclusive conversation.

She added:

"The conditions are extremely different. A lot of players are in New Zealand for the first time. It's good to have a series against the hosts before a marquee tournament. It will help us a long way from identifying gaps to getting used to the conditions."

Read: Stats: 2000 Women's Cricket World Cup (ODI)

Thirush Kamini feels missing players hurt team

India opener Thirush Kamini. (PC: Getty Images)
India opener Thirush Kamini. (PC: Getty Images)

Thirush Kamini felt missing key players in opener Smriti Mandhana and bowlers Menaka Singh and Renuka Singh is also hurting the team a lot.

The three Indian players are in extended managed isolation and quarantine. Mandhana's absence at the top has dented India's plans and they have tried out Yasika Bhatia and Sabbineni Meghana at the top, partnering Shafali Verma.

"We miss Smriti a lot. In huge chases, the start that she can provide is extremely crucial to the team. We have seen that in the past. What I feel is that we are still trying to adjust to Smriti's absence. Once she is back, I think the team will be in a good shape," she opined.

Speaking on the pace attack, Thirush Kamini said she hoped a lot would change once Menaka Singh and Renuka Singh are back in the thick of things.

"The pace attack, too, is depleted by the absence of Menaka Singh and Renuka. Having a good pace attack is the reason why the tour was approached with four pacers but with two of them unable to play, we have become predominantly a team relying on two speedsters and our spin attack on pitches that assist the faster bowlers. Once the two pacers are back, the dynamics of the team will change," she explained.

Experienced core group

Thirush Kamini said the Indian team has a core group of players who have played in big matches and have the experience of guiding the team in crunch situations.

Also read: NZ-W vs IN-W prediction: Who will win the 2nd ODI?

The Indian team, under Mithali Raj, lost narrowly to England in the final of the 2017 World Cup. They also lost to Australia in the T20 World Cup in 2020, under Harmanpreet Kaur's leadership.

"It is good that we reached the final in 2017 and then in the T20 World Cup. The core group - Mithali, Harman, Jhulan, Smriti and Rajeshwari - would take a lot of experience from the fact that India had played two finals in two World Cups," she said.

Kamini added:

"It would agur positively for the team to have such a core group. In big games, tight chases and crunch games, the experience will come into play."

The southpaw opined that the opening batters and new ball bowlers hold the key to a successful World Cup campaign because of the strong foundation they set.

"The openers - both in batting (Smriti and Shefali) and bowling (Jhulan and Meghana) - will be crucial. The way they set up the foundation with both the bat and the ball will be crucial for the team," Thirush Kamini concluded.

India will begin their World Cup campaign with a high-voltage match against Pakistan on March 6.

Also read: Mithali Raj: 'Sports psychologist helps us to play best cricket under pressure'

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Edited by Anantaajith Raghuraman
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