SURAT: Unlike Indian men’s cricket where wrist spinners are in abundance, there are not many leggies who stand out on the women’s circuit. Poonam Yadav has been the most consistent leg-spinner there. In 2018, she was the only spinner to feature in all 25 matches that India played and finished as the leading wicket-taker with 35 scalps. She also went past pacer Jhulan Goswami as the team’s highest wicket-taker in T20Is with 76 scalps.
Poonam said her good run was down to a couple of variations and a tweak to her run-up. “I am consistently working on something or the other. Earlier, my googlies were a bit slow. Now, I can bowl it quicker. I have a couple of types of run-ups while bowling,” she said.
The 28-year-old revealed the focus has been on bowling more dot balls in recent times. “I try to not bowl to the batter’s strengths. I try working them up and bowling more dots than going for wickets.”
With the ongoing series against South Africa being the first day/night tournament at home after 2012, adjusting to conditions and schedule has not been easy for her. In the last World T20 in the West Indies, the semifinal — which they lost to England — was the first match they played under lights.
With matches in the next World T20 to be played under lights, Poonam said the spin-heavy side do not want to go under-prepared. “When we were in West Indies, I didn’t have a lot of ideas on how to deal with dew. It was a sudden change in the semifinal. We played most of our games in the afternoon. During our practice sessions also, there wasn’t much dew. As a team, we then had a chat and figured out how to bowl when there was dew.
“It (playing night games) is a bit tough because I love getting up early in the morning and practising and during the evenings, I feel dull and prefer relaxing.”
Ahead of the World T20, India are scheduled to play five T20Is against West Indies in November and four matches in a tri-series against Australia and England next year. Poonam feels bowling in Australia will be a big challenge.
“It is easier to get hit if we bowl flatter in Australia. They couldn’t pick me as I gave them more flight. But now they might come prepared. So I’ve to work on getting more into my repertoire. Australians are quick at reading minds. Other teams seldom step out against me but Aussies do that a lot.”
The third T20I between India and South Africa was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to a wet outfield at Lalbhai Contractor Stadium. India lead the five-match series 1-0 ahead of the fourth T20I on Tuesday.