“Not a big deal…”: Smriti Mandhana’s Interesting Take On Indian Team Head Coach’s Absence

Indian women’s cricket team vice-captain, Smriti Mandhana, remains undeterred by the absence of a head coach for over six months, viewing it as an opportunity to gain insights from different coaching staff. Following the dismissal of Ramesh Powar in December last year, the team has been without a head coach, even playing the T20 World Cup without one.

Mandhana emphasizes that the new coaching staff’s fresh perspectives and tips have benefited the team. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) plans to appoint a long-term head coach soon, with Amol Muzumdar likely a candidate.

Despite the lack of a head coach, the Indian women’s cricket team has remained focused on playing their best brand of cricket. Smriti Mandhana acknowledges the valuable contributions of the coaching staff members who have been supportive and helpful during this period. She sees the absence of a long-term coach as an opportunity to gain new insights and positive changes for the team.

“The BCCI has been hunting for a long-term coach and we will have one soon. It’s not a very big thing in terms of players. We want to play the best brand of cricket we can. All the coaching staff that has come in has been really helpful.” Mandhana said at the pre-match press conference ahead of India’s third ODI against Bangladesh.

In April, the BCCI decided to provide long-term contracts to the Indian women’s cricket team support staff, marking a change from the previous ad-hoc basis appointments. This move aims to provide stability and continuity in coaching, supporting the team’s growth and development.

“For us as a team, it is not important what is happening around us. How we play our brand of cricket is more important. We will have to wait for the series to finish and see what happens,” she said.

Despite her struggles in the ongoing tour of Bangladesh, Smriti Mandhana remains positive and focused on improving her performance. She has worked diligently in the nets and acknowledges that her batting is going well. However, she believes that better application during matches is essential to convert promising starts into substantial contributions for the team.

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“I have been batting well in the nets and in the matches I have been getting starts. It doesn’t happen very often that I am middling the ball and still not getting runs for the team but I have been working on it. The last match for me was pretty positive, the way I was able to get the team off to a decent start but threw my wicket away. It’s more about application.. my batting is going well but application hasn’t been always the way I applied,” Mandhana said.

The Indian team faced a surprising defeat in the series opener against Bangladesh, who have evolved as a strong side over the past year. Mandhana credits Bangladesh’s improved bowling attack and overall cricket brand for their team growth. India remains wary of the challenge posed by the hosts and is determined to perform well in all three departments of the game.

“We played them in the Asia Cup last year, they have grown since then. On these sort of wickets their bowling attack is good. They have played a very good brand of cricket. They will be coming hard at us so we won’t be taking anything lightly. The deciding factor (for us) has been batting…getting ourselves to a good score will be important. We have to be good in all 3 departments,” Mandhana said.

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