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WPL – India Women coach Amol Muzumdar wants to create a pool of 20-25 players

India Women head coach Amol Muzumdar sees the ongoing WPL 2024 as an opportunity to expand the team’s resources.

“I would want another pool of 20-25 players to create a bench strength for the Indian team,” he said while commentating on the game between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Giants on Tuesday evening. “Four fast bowlers played the last series, I want to create a pool of fast bowlers [from the WPL]. It makes a lot of difference if you strengthen the bowling attack.”

Muzumdar took over as head coach late last year just before the home series against England and Australia. India won each of the one-off Tests against them but lost all the white-ball series which included a similar scoreline of 2-1 in the T20I series to England and Australia, along with a 3-0 thrashing from Australia in the ODIs.

The four quicks who played in the white-ball matches were Renuka Singh, Titas Sadhu and the allrounders Pooja Vastrakar and Amanjot Kaur. For the Tests India also had Meghna Singh in the squad but she didn’t get to play either of the games. India may feel a lightness in their pace attack since Jhulan Goswami retired in 2022. They also appear to have moved on from the experienced Shikha Pandey. who made a brief comeback in T20Is in early 2023 but hasn’t played any of their recent games.

Speaking of players such as Saika Ishaque and Shreyanka Patil, promising talents who can rise up the WPL pathway and push for a permanent spot in the India side, Muzumdar also lauded Sajeevan Sajana, who won Mumbai Indians the opening game of this WPL with a first-ball six on the last ball of the game when they needed five to win.

“Sajana’s six gives you an idea of the depth in Indian cricket,” he said.

An unknown name who didn’t need the WPL to win a national cap is Karnataka batter Satheesh Shubha. She made her debut in the Test match against England and struck a highly-composed half-century but missed the game against Australia because of injury. Muzumdar said he had spotted her during a warm-up match ahead of the home season and immediately decided to play her at the international level.

“I organised a match at the NCA here at the Chinnaswamy Stadium,” he said. “It was a four-day warm-up match and she (Shubha) did very well there – she scored 99 and 50. She’s a left-hander and bats well at No. 3. After seeing her in the nets I had decided to bat her at No. 3. Not many players had seen her at the time.

“I’ll thank Harman (India captain Harmanpreet Kaur) because she agreed for the call immediately.”

Muzumdar added that India had held a camp before their two most recent assignments, with particular focus on the fitness and fielding. “In the first meeting before the England and Australia series we had cleared that fitness and fielding are non-negotiable. Every player is working towards it, it’s not just talk. There’s clear thinking and planning behind it.”

After five games in the second season of the WPL, Muzumdar was pleased to see the runs being scored from some of the India batters, such as S Meghana (RCB), Richa Ghosh (RCB) and Shafali Verma (Delhi Capitals).

“There is an upscale movement in India’s batters,” he said. “The confidence from those two series against England and Australia is on display because of how they performed there.”

Before the WPL had started, Harmanpreet had also said the uncapped players can use the WPL as a platform to break into the India squad with a T20 World Cup coming up in September-October in Bangladesh.

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