Communicating with younger Indian players, helping them navigate through bumpy road that is top flight cricket will be topmost on Mumbai Indians skipper Harmanpreet Kaur’s agenda as she gears up for WPL opener against Gujarat Giants on Saturday.
The league will be a big opportunity for the domestic Indian players, who have till date lived in oblivion just like their male counterparts till 2008 when IPL started.
Harmanpreet, who herself hails from Punjab’s Moga recollected his initial days in Indian team and how her erstwhile seniors had helped her break ice.
“It is very difficult for a young player coming into the team to communicate with the senior player. I make sure to reach out to them,” Harmanpreet said at the pre-match conference.
“I remember this from my early days when I got into the Indian team, Jhuludi (Jhulan Goswami) and Anjumdi (Anjum Chopra) made me feel comfortable.
“They were the ones who came up and spoke to me. They were also very keen to know about me. This is something that I have learned from them and I try to follow the same thing here with the other girls,” the Indian skipper said.
Having had a tight international schedule for the last decade or so, Harmanpreet hasn’t had a chance of interacting with a lot of domestic players and upcoming youngsters, something she plans to do during the tournament.
“Previously, I did not get enough time or opportunity to get to know more about the domestic players and talk to them, on what kind of cricket they want to play or what kind of improvement they are seeking.
“We have someone like Sonam Yadav in the MI team, who played in the U-19 World Cup and I spoke with her yesterday. She was asking me questions on how she bowled in a couple of practice matches that we had yesterday (Thursday) and what I was thought about her bowling.
“We also have Dhara Gujjar, she did really well in the practice game, her approach towards the game, how she was running between the wickets, a lot of positives around,” she observed.
Bowlers have an opportunity to learn from Jhulan
Getting a chance to pick legendary Jhulan Goswami’s brains isn’t a small deal.
“We have Jhulan Goswami who is deeply involved with the girls, she already knows most of them as she was travelling with the Bengal team in domestic cricket. She knows them very well. She has shown trust in them,” Harmanpreet said.
For some, there can be a difference between captaining a national side and a franchise team.
But Harmanpreet begs to differ.
“It has felt almost the same so far. I haven’t spotted any big difference. But one big challenge that is always there which we also have discussed as to how to communicate with overseas players as well as domestic players.
“We are already having some team bonding sessions where they are speaking with each other and getting to know each other as much as possible in a shorter period of time. This is one part we are aware of and working on it.”