We are counting the days before #WT20 starts: Jhulan Goswami
Speaking on the ICC World Twenty20 Host City tour, both Venkatesh Prasad and Goswami anticipate huge crowds for mega event
05 March 2016 10:48
Venkatesh Prasad and Jhulan Goswami during the ICC Cricket for Good and UNICEF event.
The ICC World Twenty20 India 2016, which begins on March 8 when Hong Kong and Zimbabwe take on each other in Nagpur, will be first edition of the global showpiece event to be hosted in India.
The tournament will be hosted across eight venues, and given cricket’s popularity in the country, the turnstiles are sure to be kept busy over the course of the coming weeks.
India Women begins its campaign against Bangladesh Women in Bangalore on March 15, and Jhulan Goswami, the allrounder, admitted playing in front of a big, noisy crowd was something the whole team was looking forward to. “We’ve been waiting for a long time, because this particular World Twenty20 will be played in our country,” she said during the ICC Cricket for Good and UNICEF event in Bangalore.
“Cricket over here is like a religion. Preparations are going in the right track, we’re looking forward and there is a lot of excitement. But at the same time, we’ve to keep it all together. We just have to make sure we’re on the right path. We’re just fine-tuning now, but we are counting the days (before the tournament starts).
Venkatesh Prasad, the former India paceman, also believed the turnout of fans would be a highlight of the tournament. “It’s wonderful that the T20 World Cup is happening here in India,” he said. “I have played a lot of my cricket in Bangalore, and there are quite a few World Cup matches happening here this time around. The crowd here is outstanding, they love entertainment – and T20 cricket is all about that. Their support is fantastic, no matter who is playing.”
Goswami acknowledged playing in front of a home crowd would bring its own unique pressure as well, but she sounded a note of confidence too. “Other countries will have a different sort of experience,” she said. “It’s a noisy crowd over here, unlike in other countries like Australia, New Zealand and England. But they will support cricket, actually. If you do well, they will encourage you. But they support you, they support cricket. For other girls (from overseas), it’s going to be noisy. I can say that much.”
She also picked out her teams to watch out for in the tournament. “Australia is a very good side. West Indies are also one to watch, apart from India too. West Indies have a couple of girls who can clear the ropes.”
As far as the men’s competition was concerned, Prasad said India was one of the favourites to win the tournament, given the home advantage factor. He tipped Australia and South Africa to pose strong challenges too, given the experience their players have gained from contesting in the Indian Premier League.
“It’s been fantastic for the Indian team. A couple of months back, and they beat Australia in T20I matches overseas,” he said. “Now they’re playing the Asia Cup and they won all the games and are in the finals. They’ve got some outstanding talent, great potential, and a lot of experience. It’s a young side, but has a huge amount of experience, and a lot of credit for that has to go to the IPL. Like everyone, I’m hoping and praying India win the World Cup, they’ve an amazing opportunity.
“The reason the Australians and South Africans rate highly in my opinion is because a lot of them play in India during the IPL. They know the conditions, they know the mindset of the players, they know the nature of the pitches. That is going to play a huge role in their successes."