PUNE: All-rounder Deepti Sharma, who will be captaining team Velocity in the upcoming Women's T20 Challenge at MCA Stadium, revealed that she has already been thinking of featuring in the final of the three-team event. The tournament also marks the first time Deepti will be taking up leadership duties of Velocity in absence of Mithali Raj.
"The thing I am looking to gain from the tournament is to put in my best efforts in all three departments of the game. As a captain, I want to take all players along with me, and playing a final on a platform like this is a really big thing as a leader. What I think of right now is to play the final of the tournament," said Deepti in the pre-tournament virtual press conference.
Deepti further disclosed that she has been working on her power-hitting skills after the conclusion of the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup in New Zealand and hinted at opening the batting for Velocity in the Women's T20 Challenge.
"After World Cup, I have worked a bit on my power hitting with coaches and worked as well on the inside-out shots. Hopefully, you see me do that (opening). I have opened domestically and before as well (for India). I like to bat in top-order as you get the time and power-play is on too. Batting in power-play is something which the batters find a bit easy, which might you get to see (in the tournament)."
Deepti, who had been the vice-captain in India's final two ODIs against New Zealand in February, feels that the three-team event will provide good exposure to players from the domestic circuit who will be featuring for the first time.
"This is a good opportunity because foreign players also come and also, the new domestic players who perform well in the domestic circuit. It will be a good opportunity for them to perform as well as get some game time and the biggest thing is will be to gain from experiences of senior players as well as foreign cricketers, which is very good."
From the Velocity squad, Nagaland opener Kiran Navgire along with the Maharashtra duo of leg-spinner Maya Sonawane and left-arm spinner Aarti Kedar are the players to watch out for after doing well in the senior women's T20 League.
Navgire, who topped run-scoring charts with 525 runs at a whopping average of 131.25 and strike rate of 172.69, made heads turn with a 76-ball 162 against Arunachal Pradesh, making her the only Indian man or woman to score over 150 in a T20 match.
"I saw Kiran while batting in the nets for the first time. She is just like Shafali; produces a lot of hard hits. When she bats, one doesn't realise that it is a girl batting and gives the feel of boys playing shots. She's a good talent, a power-hitter. Maximum times, I have seen her hit sixes in the two sessions we had. It feels like whatever balls come to her, all of them will go to stands, which is good to see," stated Deepti on her first observations of Navgire.
While Kedar ended as the top wicket-taker with 13 scalps from eight matches, Sonawane provided her ample support with 11 wickets from as many matches. Deepti further explained how Sonawane's control and variations become effective for Velocity in the tournament.
"I didn't see much of Maya in domestic competitions, it has been twice or thrice. But yes, she has a very different action as compared to other leg-spinners and has got really good variations. You tell her to bowl a particular ball, she is ready to bowl that only, which is what I speak to her in the nets."
"She has got really good control in terms of what to bowl and at what areas. When a bowler gets control, you realise how good she can be. She is always ready to take up challenges, which is a good quality of her. One doesn't know the variations she possesses, including Maya herself. Her line and length are so good and she definitely, have a lot of talent. She herself doesn't know what ball she is going to bowl or even take out a wicket," concluded the all-rounder.