With upgraded arsenal, Yastika ready to conquer the T20 format

The 22-year-old speaks about her first year in international cricket, the work she did on her batting during the domestic season and more

Published: 09th January 2023 07:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th January 2023 12:04 PM   |  A+A-

Yastika Bhatia. (Photo | AFP)

Yastika Bhatia. (Photo | AFP)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: From making her India debut in Australia to playing in the 2022 ODI World Cup and Commonwealth Games before being left out of the T20 setup, Yastika Bhatia's first year in international cricket has been a whirlwind ride.

After missing out on the Asia Cup the 22-year-old went back to the domestic circuit, piled on runs in the T20 format to make her way back into the Indian team. And now, she is all set to play in another World Cup, this time in the T20 format, next month. In a candid chat with this daily, Yastika speaks about her first year with the Indian team, the work she did to improve her T20 game and the upcoming World Cup in South Africa. Excerpts...

It's been a year since you made your debut in international cricket. How has been the rollercoaster ride so far?

I have evolved a lot over the past year. I have learnt a lot of things as a person and as a cricketer. I have tried to take all the lessons that have come my way in a positive manner. Every time I have faced a setback, I have fallen down, I have tried to comeback that has been the whole year in one line. It has not been a smooth ride for me. I have faced a lot of challenges, but I have really enjoyed that phase and never did I feel that this is the end of the road.

I just enjoy every situation international cricket has offered for me because every step, every situation has improved me. Whether it was the World Cup, sitting out in the first match and then coming in when the team needed me to be a little explosive at the top of the order, or the Commonwealth Games, there were not so many runs from my bat. All the challenges have improved me and taught me. It also showed me who all are close to me, who are my support system who believes in me even when I am shaken, the people who are close to me. I learnt a lot of things on and off the field.

You have had your shares of highs as well...

Yes, whenever I was having a good time also, whether it was the England series or the domestic season, that also has taught me a lot. It exposed me to my capacity and what I am capable of pulling the team out of in a situation where I even thought that this cannot be possible now. I have learnt a lot in this whole and a lot to learn more also. So, I'm looking forward.

How did you approach it when you were left out of the T20I side?

When I was dropped from the T20 side — I had done well in ODIs, it was the T20s where I had to improve — there was a very hunger inside me. I really wanted to come back, not just into the squad, I wanted to play. That was the one thing in my mind — I wanted to be the best T20 batter in India. I worked on my power game, have done a lot of gym sessions and training sessions with the team at NCA and Baroda. All of them have been very helpful in my growth as a fitter player. In T20, the game is evolving and bowlers are sharp. They have match-ups and we have to counter it, and have to work on how to score boundaries. I also worked on my singles and doubles. In T20s, dot balls add pressure on a batter which leads to the dismissal. I consciously worked on strike rotation and it has helped a lot.

Is there anything specific you worked on your batting during the domestic season?

Going with my instincts is something I have changed in my batting. I was playing against South Zone in the Inter Zonal T20s, in that we (West Zone) required 70 odd runs (65) in 7 overs and were five wickets down I was the main batter with all-rounders and lower-order batters. I was desperate and the boundaries were not coming. Instinctively, I opened my stance. I played with an open stance and it helped me clear the front foot and slog. I have a strong off side game but it improved my leg side game. I did it instinctively and it made a difference. I wanted to try it out that day as we had nothing to lose and I pulled it off. Similarly, after speaking to coaches, I have some tricks in the bag which I try in my practice as well. You will see if it works when I use it in the match.

On preparations for the T20 World Cup...

I am really looking forward to the T20 World Cup in South Africa. The wickets are bouncy and good for pacers and I like fast bowling. I am looking forward to the opportunity when I get over there. I have been preparing for that as well. Have worked on pitches in Baroda in the Reliance stadium, according to the conditions in South Africa. I am also working on mindset adjustments and visualisation aspects of my game. Like Australia, I think I will love to play in South Africa also.


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