Ravi Shastri, former India cricketer and former head coach of the senior Indian men’s team, has expressed his thoughts on the India women’s cricket team, stating that the Hamranpreet Kaur-led senior Indian women’s team is not far from being the standout performers in the ongoing Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa.
From mid-January, the India Women’s team has been in South Africa. They initially played a tri-series against the hosts and the West Indies to acquire a feel for the conditions in the host country. They lost the tri-series final to South Africa, but are already preparing for their T20 World Cup opener against Pakistan on Sunday, February 12.
“I’ve been saying for the past six, eight months that (India’s women’s team) isn’t that far away from winning a major one,” the 60-year-old stated on the current edition of The ICC Review.
The former India coach remarked that he is quite pleased with how women’s cricket, particularly in India, has developed and that India has a good chance of winning a big ICC tournament. He cited the example of Shafali Verma’s India U19 Women’s squad winning the first U19 Women’s World Cup in South Africa in January 2023.
Shastri said that if the younger squad could accomplish it, the senior team could do it as well. The junior team’s win had built an inspiring foundation for the seniors to use as a model. He likened the U19 squad’s success to India’s historic Men’s World Cup victory in 1983 when the team overcame two-time champions West Indies led by Kapil Dev.
Shastri was a member of the World Cup-winning squad. He went on to remark that success had opened Pandora’s box for cricket in India and that the U19 India girls had done the same thing to inspire women players on the major stage in recent years. Shastri noted that the senior women had previously reached World Cup and CWG finals and lost by narrow margins, but given their consistency in ICC competitions, it’s just a matter of time until they win a trophy in any format.
“I’ve always thought that the greatest thing that will happen in women’s cricket is the women’s team, and it’s not that far away. They’ve threatened, reached the finals, and lost several tight games, but they’re still there. When we won the World Cup in 1983, it opened up a Pandora’s Box for me. The whole perception of the game shifted, including how players were regarded, how the game was perceived, and how people desired.
To pack the system, the manner the sport was monetised altered suddenly. I see that occurring in women’s cricket. Currently, under-19 is only a stepping stone. It was amazing to watch how the little ladies played and won. And, particularly in the final, beating a side like England, bowling them out for 68 and then doing the job was a fantastic feat that inspired many young cricketers to pursue the sport “Shastri came to an end.