Deepti Sharma also reflected back on her journey in the cricketing world so far, starting from her childhood days in Agra, to her journey to the final in Lord's last week    IANS
Deepti Sharma also reflected back on her journey in the cricketing world so far, starting from her childhood days in Agra, to her journey to the final in Lord’s last week IANS

Indian all-rounder Deepti Sharma, who has been a sensation following India’s commendable performance in the just concluded ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, says that her main focus would be to develop and specialise in the ‘carrom ball’ delivery like Ravichandran Ashwin and Sri Lanka’s Ajantha Mendis. Deepti also reflected back on her journey in the cricketing world so far, starting from her childhood days in Agra, to her journey to the final in Lord’s last week. Deepti also spoke on former Indian cricketer Hemlata Kala, whom she saw prcatising in the ground during her childhood days. ICC name Mithali captain, include Harmanpreet, Deepti in team of Women s World Cup 2017

“I used to accompany my brother to his academy in Agra. One day I was sitting on the stairs watching his match and suddenly the ball came to me. I threw back the ball and it directly hit the stumps. There were a few girls practising on the ground and among them was [veteran India batswoman] Hemlata Kala, who enquired about me. She immediately asked my brother to bring me along to the ground everyday, saying: ‘She has a lot of potential, you have no idea of her talent.’ From there the journey started,” she said in an exclusive interview with IANS.

Speaking on her bowling variations, Deepti said, “I keep watching Ashwin’s videos and try to learn from his variations. I haven’t met him yet but am a fan of the variations he uses in Test cricket. “I tried the carrom ball at the nets but haven’t used it in a match situation as yet. It is necessary to have variations in your bowling as most of the non-Asian batswomen find it tough to handle quality spin bowling. I am a batting all-rounder, generally open the innings. But I keep myself flexible to bat at any position where my captain wants me to. It all depends on the situation of the game..”

Speaking on the success in thw World Cup, she said, “The win against England in the World Cup opener was a confidence booster for us. From there on we started believing in our abilities and complimented each other’s efforts. We are a team who enjoy each other’s success. When I went to bat in the final, the team needed 28 runs and my focus was on staying till the end. I focussed on taking singles and hitting the odd ball for a boundary.”

“It was a achievable target but somehow things did not work in our favour. No regrets as such as we fought hard before losing. It would have been a heart-break had we not given a fight. Not many people recognised us before we went to the World Cup. But it is after our performance in the semi-final [against Australia] that people started hailing us. I feel proud to be a part of the team,” she added.

Deepti also spoke on her experience of playing at Lord’s. “It’s a dream for every cricketer to play at the Lord’s. It was a dream come true for me , it was a capacity crowd and we were playing for the first time when every ball was watched and cheered by the crowd and millions back home. One thing I have learnt from this World Cup is to remain cool in pressure situations. Whatever the situation is, you need to stay calm which unfortunately we couldn’t in the World Cup final.”

Speaking on the Indian skipper Mithali Raj, she hailed her by saying, “Mithali Raj is the Mahendra Singh Dhoni in our team. She is cool and keeps her composure at crucial moments. I always try to grab the good things and have benefited a lot.” She also spoke on Ekta Bisht and other spinners in the side. “It’s a healthy combination with Ekta or the other spinners in the team. But everything depends on the conditions whether we approach the innings with two spinners and three pacers or a three-spinner attack,” she said.

Speaking on the idea of Women’s IPL, Deepti said, “Women’s IPL should have started long back when the men’s IPL started in 2008, but its never too late. The sooner it starts it’s better for women’s cricket in the country.” Finally, she concluded by speaking on the different job opportunities she has received till date. “There have been job offers from the Indian Railways, but nothing of this sort has come from the Uttar Pradesh government as yet.”