Ready to bowl against SL: Gouher Sultana
Left-arm spinner Gouher Sultana has emerged as one the key players for India since her debut in the 2008 Women’s Asia Cup. One of the senior members of the team, the bowler is prepared to shoulder her share of responsibility and help her team make a mark on a big stage, like the ongoing World Cup.
While talking to bcci.tv ahead of India’s match against Sri Lanka at the Brabourne Stadium, Sultana spoke about her preparations and representing India in the 2013 ICC Women’s World Cup in India.
Excerpts from her interview:
On her preparations for bowling against Sri Lanka
I haven’t played much against Sri Lanka. I have seen a few videos and the match against England where they played really well. I have worked on a few batsmen, on how to tackle them.
On the match against England
They are attacking batsmen. I have not bowled very well against them, but I am prepared for the Sri Lankan team. I had an off day against them and I got whacked all over. But I am prepared to bowl to the Sri Lankan batsmen; they are a little different from the English players.
On the match against Sri Lanka
It’s a do-or-die game for us, but yes, we are prepared for it. Me and Jhulu di [Jhulan Goswami] are the senior strike bowlers. We bowl in the powerplay; so we discuss few things like which line to bowl. And she comes and tells me what has to be done in the powerplay, which is very important for us in the powerplay overs. It is a responsibility and we are enjoying it.
On her preparations ahead of the tournament
I have worked on a few things. The first World Cup was good for me. I have been working on the things that need to be improved on. It is challenging to bowl on these wickets and I have been working on that; things like, change of pace and all that.
On the changes that she has made
Nothing much. There is experience now as compared to the first World Cup that I had played. I am the strike bowler for the team and ready to take on the pressure and working on handling the pressure and helping the other bowlers. There are a few variations that I have tried, like slower ones, which are very helpful on these wickets. Because normally, if you bowl, the ball comes on to the bat; but if you bowl the slower ones and a few quicker ones and use the crease, it will help.
On whether she works on her batting as well
Yes, we have been working on it. And on these wickets of course you want to bat because these wickets are much easier to bat on. So, whenever I get an opportunity, I do it. I don’t practice a lot as I focus on my bowling and fielding, but I do work on what position I go in to bat and what I need to do [when I go to bat in certain situations].
On what it means to be playing in the World Cup, and that too in India
It’s always an honour to represent your country in the World Cup and on home soil. You have been playing on these grounds and you have the crowd support and parents’ support. Of course there is pressure, but we enjoy it and it’s great to be part of the Indian team.
On how different is it from playing in another country
There is a difference in atmosphere. We are getting a lot of support, which encourages us. And you get that feeling that you have to perform well because everyone is watching and they have great expectations and you don’t want to let them down. People are coming and supporting women’s cricket, which is great.