Mumbai, March 14 Ahead of their crucial game against table-toppers Mumbai Indians in the ongoing WPL 2023, Gujarat Giants, head coach Rachael Haynes has said that that team’s future is is still in our hands and they just need to be focused and win next games in order to qualify for the finals.
Fourth-placed Adani Gujarat Giants have won just one in their four matches so far. Having faced each other in the season opener, the Giants will be hoping to improve and stop the winning momentum of Mumbai Indians on Tuesday evening.
“The first match was really a big occasion for our group and perhaps for a lot of young players. They might have been overwhelmed in the beginning but they have learned from that experience and accumulation from all that will help make them better players. We have switched our focus quite well after our first game. We have seen throughout the tournament that every team will go through ups and lows, which is the nature of T20 cricket,” said Haynes, ahead of the game.
“The good news is that we are going back to the CCI Stadium where we have won. The players will take all that into confidence and play their best game. The reality is that our future is still in our hands. We have to be focused and if we can win our next games, we can also be part of the final too. I have learned heaps and it’s been really nice for me as the head coach. I see the game now in a different perspective. As the head coach, you have to keep the players motivated. The group that I have got here, are extremely positive and it has made my job enjoyable and a bit relaxed,” she added.
Meanwhile, team mentor and former India Captain Mithali Raj feels winning one game in the first leg is definitely not great but the tournament is still wide open.
“Honestly, winning one game in the first leg is clearly not the way we wanted to go. But the tournament is still wide open and we have a chance to get into the top three. We look to put our best game forward,” Mithali said.
“Understanding that we have some injuries in the camp, we will try to make the best use of the resources we have with the games remaining,” she added.
The 40-year old also shed light on how this league can be a platform to nurture the young cricketers.
“We have a lot of talented U-19 players in our squad like Ashwani, Dayalan and others. It is just a matter of working on their mental strength, giving them a platform and I am sure that in a couple of seasons, they will be ready,” she said.
Meanwhile, former India off-spinner Nooshin Al Khadeer, who was named the bowling coach of Gujarat Giants for the Women’s Premier League (WPL) 2023 season talked about how the camp is dealing with the players being injured and how the bowling department of the team can work on the strategy going forward.
“Yes, we have had some injuries but that is part and parcel of the game. The positive news is that Sneh Rana is fit. She is absolutely raring to go. In my opinion, the pitches have been batter-friendly so far with shorter boundaries, which is a bit harsh on the bowlers. So, keeping that in mind the bowlers have done well. I would say that since the first game, the girls have come back stronger. They have understood what the plans are and we are looking to execute the same in our coming games,” Nooshin said.
On the other hand, Satyam Trivedi, Head of Adani Sportsline, touched upon how the franchise and set-up has been supporting the sporting ecosystem.
“I have always been very ambitious and vocal about our take on WPL. This is going to be the best property as far as women’s sport is concerned. This is going to be the second biggest league in terms of commercial sports or franchise sports in India. We have a number of fans coming to see the match which is so encouraging. I am confident that this platform is going to motivate and inspire many others leagues to follow this,” said Trivedi.
“It (WPL) has become the talk of the town, like you go to a mall and people are talking about the tournament. My wife called me the other day that she was in mall in Ahmedabad and people sitting next to her, on the next table, were talking about WPL and the performance of these cricketers and one of the guys was saying that this is more interesting than the performance that we see in men’s cricket. So, this is a kind of discussion that is happening in the town. And in a matter of another 2-3 years it will go to another level,” he added.
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