Young India women’s cricket team batter Yastika Bhatia has said the side’s preparations for the Commonwealth Games here have been focused entirely on winning gold, adding the girls will concentrate mainly on their strengths and not on how strong the rivals are.
India will begin their campaign at the quadrennial games against Australia at Edgbaston later on Friday and hope to make a winning start against the strong gold-medal contenders led by the charismatic Meg Lanning.
India went through a rigorous practice drill on Thursday where coach Ramesh Powar was seen giving throwdowns and bowlers going full tilt in the nets.
“We are very grateful for this opportunity that has been provided to us. Any matches in which we represent our country, it’s a matter of pride and we are very excited. We are going for gold, not just any podium finish,” asserted the 21-year-old left-hand batter.
“So, we are looking for gold and our practice and preparation is according to that only. Any match that you play in a tournament like the Commonwealth Games is important for us. We are not looking at what the opposition is (doing). We are focused on our strengths and how we can do better,” added Yastika Bhatia.
Following their opening match against Australia, Harmanpreet Kaur’s side will play Pakistan on July 31 and round off it’s Group A assignment against Barbados on August 3.
“We will be playing our first match at Edgbaston. We have not played there (before)… we have to look at it as a new ground, new challenge and just go according to that,” said Bhatia in a video posted by BCCI on social media.
Whenever India and Australia have met previously in group stages of Women’s T20 World Cup, the ladies in blue jersey have ended up on the winning side. In the 2018 edition in West Indies, India had beaten Australia by 48 runs. In the 2020 edition, India again defeated Australia by 17 runs, leaving them on the brink of an early exit from the tournament at home.
Though Australia won the tournament by defeating India in the final in front of 86,174 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, fans from both sides will be itching to see how an India-Australia clash in the Commonwealth Games 2022 pans out.
With all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar yet to join the team due to Covid-19 infection and batter Sabbhineni Meghana on her way to join the team, India effectively have 13 members to choose from for their playing eleven against Australia.