PUNE: Sneh Rana has established herself as a reliable all-rounder for India. During the recent Women’s 50-over World Cup, she grabbed 10 wickets at an economy rate of just 4.24 and was one of the highest wicket-takers for India. In the match against Pakistan, she thumped a sprightly half-century and snaffled two wickets to help her team decimate the arch-rivals.
At present, she is playing for the team Velocity in the Women’s T20 Challenge tournament in Pune. In an exclusive interview with The New Indian, she talks about a range of subjects. Here are the edited excerpts:
Q: The Women’s T20 Challenge tournament is seen as a precursor to the Women’s IPL which might begin next year. What is your take on this?
A: This is the first time I am playing in the Women’s T20 Challenge so I am extremely excited. It is seen as the precursor to the Women’s IPL which is fantastic. If the BCCI starts IPL for Women, it will give a massive fillip to women’s cricket in India as a lot of young women cricketers will get a platform to showcase their skills.
Q: How do you look at your bowling? Do you bowl differently in the T20s than in the ODIs and the Tests?
A: See, all three formats are very different from each other. You don’t get time to make a comeback in the T20s as one bad over can completely queer your pitch. So, one has to read the pitch quickly and make adjustments quickly. In my opinion, if one gives away three or fewer runs in an over in the T20s, it’s equivalent to a wicket. Dot balls matter as much as wickets in this format.
My emphasis is more on containing batters when I am playing T20s as everyone is looking to take you to the cleaners from the word go. Of course, I look to snap up wickets as well but an economical spell is as much important, if not more, than wickets. Also, when one bowls a lot of dot balls, the pressure piles up on batters and they try to do something different which often results in them getting out.
Q: You were out of the Indian team, in all formats, between 2016 and 2020. How difficult was that phase and how did you make a comeback?
A: I copped a knee injury in 2016 and didn’t play cricket for a year. But my mindset completely changed after that. I came out as a much stronger person mentally. My attitude was that I have to work on my game and fitness and script a comeback, come hell or high water. For the last 3 to 4 years, I had been performing creditably in the domestic circuit. I was determined to grab the opportunity whenever I would be selected again for India.
Q: You performed exceedingly well in the recently-concluded Women’s 50-over World Cup. How did you prepare for that tournament?
A: Playing in the World Cup was my dream ever since I debuted for India in 2014. Since I had missed the last World Cup due to a knee injury, I wanted to make a strong statement and prove myself. Before the tournament, I plugged away relentlessly on my bowling and added new variations to my repertoire. I didn’t push the ball quickly through the air, but I used my faster delivery strategically and reaped rewards. I learned the importance of bowling from different angles and how it can be beneficial.
Q: When you were playing domestic cricket for Railways, coach Nooshin Al Khadeer told you to improve your batting and fulfil your potential as an all-rounder. Tell me something about that.
A: You know, I started as a batter when I began playing cricket but later bowling became my strong suit. Yes, Nooshin di told me that I shouldn’t be content with being just a bowling all-rounder. I remember her telling me that I should look to make big scores and not just 30s and 40s. I took her suggestion in my stride and started improving my batting. I learned a few new shots as well in the last few years.
I came close to notching up a hundred on my Test debut against England but ultimately remained unbeaten at 80. I am sure that the elusive ton in international cricket will come soon.
Having said that, I am willing to bat at any position for my team. Sometimes, even quick-fire 30s and 40s, especially in limited-overs, can be more impactful and handy than hundreds.
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