India women’s cricket team limited-overs captain Harmanpreet Kaur said leadership brings confidence and allows her to get involved deeply in the game. Harmanpreet was named India women’s T20I captain in October 2016 and after veteran Mithali Raj hanged her boots from international cricket, the Punjab-born player was given the additional reins of ODI captaincy.
India women started their Sri Lanka tour with a 2-1 win in the T20I series and both teams will head towards the three-match ODI series starting on Friday in Pallekele. India will play their first ODI match since their disappointing exit in the 2022 ICC Women’s World Cup in New Zealand three months ago.
Captaincy is something that comes naturally to me: Harmanpreet Kaur
Harmanpreet said she enjoys leading the team and maintains the team environment at the same time without carrying any burden on the head. The 33-year-old wants to give her teammates the utmost freedom to play the game according to their own way.
“When I’m leading, I feel I am more involved in the game. It always gives me a lot of confidence. Captaincy is something that comes naturally to me when I’m on the field. Over time, when you have a lot of years of leading [the team], things get easier. Right now, I don’t feel extra pressure on me,” Harmanpreet said in a press conference on the eve of the first ODI.
“If I enjoy as captain, the rest of the group will also feel they can enjoy the moment. That’s what I’ve been discussing in team meetings. I feel I’m free to do what I want to do now. When you give players the freedom, you can improve more. That is my motive, to give the players freedom to express themselves,” she added.
I want our team to improve on fitness: Harmanpreet Kaur
Just after the conclusion of the Sri Lanka tour, the Indian team will head to England for the inaugural Women’s T2o competition at Birmingham Commonwealth 2022 followed by the white-ball fixtures against England women in September.
The Indian skipper stressed on the fitness of her players as the priority goal for long tours and mentioned the support of coaching staff in developing their skillset in different departments.
“For skills, we have coaches who help us, but with fitness, if I can set a goal for my team, and if they can see me and get motivated, I want to set an example. All of them have skills, we don’t need to tell them much, but fitness is something I want our team to improve [on], and the second part is fielding. These are the two areas we want to cover well,” Harmanpreet said.
India women and Sri Lanka women play the first ODI on Friday at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. This is the first instance for the Indian team playing an ODI match without the presence of either Mithali Raj or veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami.