The Indian women's cricket team have been impressive in multi-national tournaments. But with cricketing superpowers like Australia and England in the mix, not many gave the Indians a chance to even finish on the podium.
Nevertheless, the likes of Smriti Mandhana and Yastika were quite vocal about their ambition to win the gold medal prior to the start of CWG 2022. The team looked to have a completely different body language to what they had a few months ago in the Women's World Cup.
Yastika has now opened up about how the heartbreaking exit in the Women's World Cup brought the team together in going for gold at CWG 2022. She said during an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda:
"The entire team was motivated to go for gold. In the World Cup, we weren't able to reach even the semi-final and that debacle doubled our hunger to succeed."
"We assessed the areas where we needed to improve and we all had a voice deep down that said that no matter what, we have to bring gold this time."
Yastika Bhatia on Renuka Thakur's incredible tournament
The breakout star for Team India from the CWG 2022 campaign was fast bowler Renuka Thakur. The 26-year-old was absolutely lethal with her swing bowling and her performances included four-fers against Australia and Barbados in the group stages.
Having practiced with Thakur for quite a while, here's what Yastika had to say about the talented pacer:
"We all had worked really hard in the nets. Renuka sat with the video analyst and coach Ramesh sir to make specific plans and executed them really well."
"She kept things really simple and that's what she was rewarded for. I have been seeing her practicing for the past one year and she is really sincere and focuses only on her cricket."
On loss to Australia in group game
Thakur's incredible effort with the ball had put the Women in Blue in the driver's seat to win their opening game against Australia. However, it wasn't to be as they failed to hold their nerves in crunch moments and Tahlia McGrath took full advantage to take the Aussies home.
Nevertheless, Yastika said the team looked at the positives after giving such a powerful side a run for their money. She asserted:
"Although we lost, we looked at it positively as we made them work really hard and gave them a tough fight. There was still a belief that if we win our remaining two games, we will make it to the semis."
"So our focus was on playing good cricket and we had the momentum of two wins in the semi-final. Every one had a role to play, right from the reserve players to the support staff to the XI playing on the field."
Yastika Bhatia on learnings from CWG 2022
Many heartbroken fans believe that the final against Australia was India's game to lose. They were coasting in the second innings while Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues were at the crease. However, the duo's dismissal triggered a collapse and the Women in Blue let go of a massive opportunity.
Yastika accepted that the team was distraught with the defeat. But she also opined that the silver medal is just an added motivation for them to go one step further in their next attempt and stated:
"You can look at the defeat in many ways. But we are looking at the silver medal as a reward for our hard work and next time we will try even harder to bring the gold."
She also spoke about adapting to the role of a finisher for India even though she is used to batting at the top of the order. She said:
"This is something new for me since I have opened the batting since childhood. But I am trying my best to adapt to the requirements and practicing in such a way that I am able to perform in whichever situation I am sent in to bat.
"I have been working on power-hitting since a year. Sometimes it's seen in the match, sometimes it's not. But my process remains constant and I am working more on it."
India Women's next major assignment will be the T20 World Cup slated to be held in South Africa in February next year.
Will the Indian Women's team become a force to reckon with and win next year's Women's T20 World Cup? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.