“Fitness Is Very Important, Want To Set An Example”: Harmanpreet Kaur | Cricket News

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Harmanpreet Kaur, who begins her reign as a full-time skipper of the Indian women’s team with the ODI series against Sri Lanka, is seeking drastic improvement in fitness and fielding from her teammates. Kaur, who was already leading the Indian T20 side, was handed the ODI captaincy after veteran Mithali Raj retired from international cricket earlier this month.

The three-match series beginning here on Friday is her first assignment as ODI captain.

“I have set some goals for us. Fitness is very important for a player. Skills wise we have coaches but I want to set an example where the players can see me and get motivated to become fit,” Kaur said on eve of the first ODI against Sri Lanka.

“Fitness and fielding are two things I want my team to improve. If these two aspects are covered then you are the best side,” Harmanpreet, who is among the fitter players in the Indian team, said.

Having led India in T20s for a while, the 33-year-old said she is enjoying her captaincy stint and feels no additional pressure now that she has become a full-time skipper.

“When I’m leading, I feel I am more involved in the game. It always gives me a lot of confidence. Captaincy is something that comes naturally to me when I’m on the field.

“After leading for a few years, things become easier. Right now, I don’t feel the extra pressure, if I enjoy as captain the rest can also enjoy. I am enjoying more now as I feel I’m free to do want I want to do.” “When you give players freedom, you can improve more. That is my motive, to give the players freedom so they can express themselves.”

‘Hope we can have a sports psychologist travelling with us again’

The Indian team is without the services of team psychologist Mugdha Bavare, who had travelled with the side for the series against New Zealand and the World Cup earlier this year.

It was the first time the Indian women’s team had a sports psychologist on tour.

“Mughda ma’am has done a lot for us. During the World Cup she helped me a lot, we need people like her in the team, sadly she is not travelling with us this time.

“In future we hope someone like her can always travel with us. We do have skill coaches but having someone you can talk to and share your thoughts, that is something you need in your life to clear those blocks.” The team had benefitted immensely from the presence of a sports psychologist on the tour, said the skipper.

“Skill is not going anywhere but when you feel mentally free then you can improve your game and give 100 per cent.

“In the future also we will talk to our staff if we can bring her back and I hope she can travel with us.”

Kaur bats for more Test cricket for women

ICC chairman Greg Barclay had recently stated raised doubts over the place of the Test format’s future in women’s cricket.

Asked about it, Kaur said players always want to play Test cricket.

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“In my career, I have only played 2-3 Tests. If we get more games then only we can decide if it has a future or not. As a player, we want to play Test cricket because we have grown up watching that format.

“You can’t compare all the formats together, but Test cricket is a different format and has its own level of excitement.”

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