Head Coach Ramesh Powar justifies India’s strategies after loss against Pakistan

Ramesh Powar

India’s strategy against Pakistan in the Women’s Asia Cup was ridiculous for some while extravagant for others. In a high-profile match, the team management decided to send Harmanpreet Kaur at number seven while Pooja Vastrakar was sent ahead of Richa Ghosh and with that, India could never capitalise in the run chase and suffered a defeat of 13 runs against their arch-rivals.

India’s game plan was under scrutiny right after the match. Pakistan, who suffered a defeat at the hands of Thailand in the previous match has the joint worst win-loss ratio since the beginning of 2021and thus, India’s failure to win against them has landed Ramesh Powar and company in a tight spot.

The head coach of the side however defended India’s plan for the Pakistan game and said how the team management wanted to test young players in pressure situations and see how they respond.

“We didn’t want our regular chasers to come in but try out someone younger who can take that role up. This was our fourth game [of the tournament] and we wanted to expose Pooja Vastrakar, Richa Ghosh and [Dayalan] Hemalatha, and see how they go through these pressure situations,” said Ramesh Powar in the post-match press conference.

“Harmanpreet [Kaur], Jemi [Jemimah Rodrigues] and Smriti [Mandhana] have been doing it for a long time. The purpose was to send the others up so that they can feel that pressure because we want to see how they react to such situations, especially when they may face it in a World Cup game. So we wanted to take a chance and address the issue,” the former cricketer added.

Ramesh Powar spoke on the luxury of reshuffling in the India-Pakistan game

Despite a defeat at the hands of their arch-nemesis, Powar is not worried as the Women in Blue are still at the top of the league table. Out of the four games that India played, the team has managed to win three of them and are cruising to the next round of the Asia cup. That is the reason Pawar believes that it was the right time and situation for sending the youngsters up in the pecking order.

“Six league games allow us to do that. If this was a format with two groups and four teams in each, maybe we wouldn’t have tried it. We want to build our team for all conditions and all kinds of pressure situations. Obviously, we want to win, but when we face issues that need to be addressed, we should address it,” said the 44-year-old.

Talking about the importance of taking a bold step, Powar believes that the team had the luxury of trying something different as they are at the top of the table. He also went up to say how there wasn’t any apprehension while taking the call in the ‘big game’.

“Big game? Not really. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have tried different things. Most players have played enough to understand the importance of an India-Pakistan game. They also understand where we stand in the league table and why we did it. This isn’t something only the team management is thinking. We came together as a group and thought we needed to get through tough situations under pressure with different set of match winners, not just Jemi, Smriti or Harman. We have confidence [in the younger players], that is why we tried it,” the head coach concluded.