Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami represent major absentees in India’s ranks but captain Harmanpreet Kaur is backing her youngsters to fill the legends’ void.
Raj stepped away from T20I cricket last year while Goswami previously played in the format before the last ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, leaving India without arguably their best batter and bowler of this generation.
As part of the transition, the average age of their squad in Australia is 22.8 – with Kaur recognising the importance of her own switch in role from young talent to elder stateswoman.
“We already miss the experience they share with us, but these young girls and showing their talent and ability,” said the 29-year-old, speaking at the captains’ media day at Taronga Zoo, Sydney.
“They never show us that they’re young, they can always do what we expect of them. The team is looking in really good shape and showing what they can do with extra responsibility.
“In the last two years it’s really changed – I’ve gone from being the youngest one to one of the oldest in the team.
“Our team is growing day by day, everyone is looking so positive. The tri-series with England and Australia was a good stage for us to prepare ourselves very well and we’re ready to give our best to try and win for our country.”
Kaur, who was part of that side thar finished runners-up in the Women’s Cricket World Cup 2017, is well aware of what a long run in an ICC tournament can do for her country.
And with the growing success of domestic competitions such as Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League, she is hopeful that India can soon enjoy their own breakthrough and take the domestic game to the next level.
“Over the last two years, we have already had a few games as part of the Women’s T20 Challenge and this year we are looking forward to more,” said Kaur, who became the first Indian cricketer to join an overseas league when joining WBBL side Sydney Thunder in 2016.
“If we win the World Cup, there’s no doubt things will change. That tournament would bring a lot of confidence to the girls.
“We’ve seen it from the WBBL, girls are going and playing there and getting confident, then doing really well in international. If we get a women’s IPL that will be really good for us.
“If we win the World Cup, it’s going to be very big for us as a team, so we will try to give our best.”
The ICC World Cup takes place in Australia from 21 February to 8 March.