India are here again, in the semi-final of a global tournament. They haven’t won a world event yet, so they will be all the more keen on this one. But, if it happens, it will be a bit different to anything else on offer in the game. In the Commonwealth Games 2022, they have the chance to win one of three medals. If they can pull it off, given how crazy India as a country is about medal-winners, the next few days could do more for Indian women’s cricket than any in the past. Any medal will be a cause for celebration. But, needless to say, gold is the aim.
“In the World Cup, the winner takes all. Even though here the second and third place is appreciated, that’s not what India wants; they want the gold.”
India’s training sessions have been highly intense. While teams are allowed a contingent of 15-20 players plus five support staff in the Games Village, the BCCI has sent three additional staff members, including a throwdown specialist and a masseuse, at its own cost.
“Even in training, they are working on all facets of skills,” Pradhan said. “There are two nets and then they’ll be out on the center square doing range-hitting. Almost all batters are going through that routine where you hit out of the nets and then you are into that range-hitting training.”
“This team has redefined normal; getting to the semi-finals is absolutely normal for them. They want to continue to redefine normal. They want to set a culture for the next generation to follow and I don’t think that culture involves losing semis and finals. It involves winning the thing”
Former India player Snehal Pradhan
“This team has redefined normal; getting to the semi-finals is absolutely normal for them,” Pradhan said. “They want to continue to redefine normal. They want to set a culture for the next generation to follow and I don’t think that culture involves losing semis and finals. It involves winning the thing. So they want to set the bar higher. “
“England are riding the wave and the momentum of energy behind women’s sport in this country,” Pradhan said. “We can sense that in terms of how the attendances are building up, how everyone is talking about it and how the Lionesses [England’s football team that beat Germany last weekend to win UEFA Women’s Euro 2022] are still in the news even a week after Wembley. I think they will look to emulate the football team.”
Equally, history beckons India. A win against England will assure them of a silver or gold medal. A loss will still give them a chance at a bronze-medal finish.
It should not come as a surprise if this attitude – and Vastrakar – comes out on Saturday to take India a step closer to living their dream.