CHENNAI: The shortest format is often perceived as a batsman’s game. To make a statement with bowlers in T20s is huge. And that’s what the Indian women’s team has been doing at the T20 World Cup in Australia. Harmanpreet Kaur has backed her spinners, and they’ve done their job.
Having marched into the semifinals unbeaten, the spin unit has contributed massively.
India are yet to concede more than 130 so far. What has made their spin battery even more lethal is its variety. They have a leg-spinner in Poonam Yadav, an off-spinner in Deepti Sharma, and two of the left-arm orthodox kind in Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Radha Yadav.
This quartet has accounted for 21 of India’s 33 wickets. “Poonam has been bowling in the right areas with the right trajectory. Even the big-hitters of New Zealand and Australia have been deceived by her flight,” said former India pacer Niranjana Nagarajan.
“At the other end, we have two left-arm spinners. They’ll take the ball away from right-handers, and they vary their release angles. It becomes all the more difficult for batswomen to tackle a leg-spinner from one end and a left-arm spinner from another.”
Another thing that has worked in India’s favour is Narendra Hirwani presence in the team’s support staff. The former India leg-spinner has been a spin consultant since last July. After two series whitewash against New Zealand and England in the first half of 2019, Hirwani’s entry saw Harmanpreet & Co win eight of their nine matches (one washout) against West Indies (away) and South Africa (home) post-September. Unsurprisingly, spinners called the shots then.
Radha, in particular, has benefitted from Hirwani’s appointment. The 19-year-old — not even the first-choice spinner for the event — returned with career-best figures of 4/23 against Sri Lanka on Saturday.
“I tend to overthink a lot of things, especially things like my action and deliveries. But he has freed my mind up and cleared the clutter,” was how the youngster hailed her spin coach after that match. England, SA in semifinals England and South Africa sealed their semifinal berths on Sunday, beating West Indies and Pakistan respectively.