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'I back myself as an all-rounder' – Deepti Sharma

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Deepti Sharma, the India Women all-rounder, says that she's happy fulfilling any role assigned to her by the team as she aims for more improvement in her game.

Deepti is currently placed second on the MRF Tyres ICC Women's ODI Rankings for all-rounders only after Australia's Ellyse Perry. At a young age, she has been an integral part of the Indian team, even finishing as her team's highest wicket-taker at the ICC Women's World Cup 2017, where India lost to England in the finals. As she looks forward to the next big challenge, the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia, she aims to raise her game further as the competition stiffens.

Video cwc19 22 Jul 17
WICKET: Deepti Sharma takes the caught and bowled wicket of Nicole Bolton

"I back myself as an all-rounder," Deepti told ESPNcricinfo, "Batting-wise, I have prepared myself to go [bat] anywhere. If the team wants to use me as a floater or gives me a designated position, I am happy fulfilling any role they assign. The Indian team has entered a stage where each one of us has a lot to prove, and as an all-rounder, I have a lot of work to do in every department because the competition has gone up."

Deepti is one of the four Indian players alongside Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet Kaur who will feature in the Women's Cricket Super League in England, beginning 6 August. The 21-year-old believes a good run in overseas leagues will translate to better performances at the international level, and she draws inspiration from Mandhana, who will be her team-mate at Western Storm in the tournament.

"Smriti becoming the Player of the Tournament [last season], becoming the leading run-getter last year, showed that Indians can not only do well, but excel. The way her consistency improved after that brief lean patch, it's been very encouraging for all [of us in the Indian dressing room]. She's kept scoring runs and, as ever, kept her composure while batting, which I admire in her."

Deepti, who is the youngest Indian, male or female, to take a five-wicket haul in ODIs, further talked about her altered batting approach, which she had put into practice while playing for Bengal in the last domestic season.

"I tried to adopt a slightly more aggressive approach, because if at any point the team wants me to perform a role in that mould, I should be able to do that. My strength is playing in the V, but I've been trying to get more confident in other scoring areas too, with the slog sweep, the lofted strokes."

Irrespective of where you bat, how much you score, how quick or slow you score, or how many wickets you get, if India lose, it means you needed to do better on the day.

Deepti Sharma

Deepti is the second-fastest (43 matches) and second-youngest woman to the career double of 1000-plus runs and 50-plus wickets in ODI cricket. In May 2017, she scored 188 in a game against Ireland at Potchefstroom, the highest individual ODI score for an Indian woman. However, she is unfazed by the individual records, as she puts the team's cause ahead of personal success. 

"Irrespective of where you bat, how much you score, how quick or slow you score, or how many wickets you get, if India lose, it means you needed to do better on the day."

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