India batter and social media star Jemimah Rodrigues will be playing her second ICC Women's T20 World Cup next moth and shared her excitement with presenter Mel Jones on the Road To The T20 World Cup podcast.
Rodrigues, who made her international debut in early 2018, has represented India in 34 Twenty20 Internationals and 16 one-day internationals, scoring over a 1000 runs. She is known for her flamboyant batting style and occupies the fourth spot in the MRF Tyres ICC T20I rankings for batting.
The 19-year-old is pretty happy about her and the team's preparations for the big tournament, which begins on 21 February. India will be traveling early to Australia to play a tri-nation series along with the host nation and England before the main event.
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"I think it's [preparations] going pretty well. We have got a good couple of matches. Now we'll be going to Australia and we will have the tri-series. So, I think we have good match practice before the main tournament," she told Jones.
"And yes, of course, I have been working on some particular areas [of improvement] in my batting... So, yeah, it's been going pretty well."
Elaborating on the areas she is working on, Rodrigues said: "I'm working more on my backfoot, developing my backfoot more and trying to increase my bat speed. Because looking at my size, you can make out I don't have that much strength to hit the sixes (laughs)... but I've been working on that for quite some time."
India face the defending champions and hosts Australia in the opening game in Sydney and Rodrigues was candid about the rivalry with the Women in Yellow and admitting that she loves playing against them.
"I think when it comes to Australia, you got to be the best or you can't play. That's the kind of team they are. My favourite team to play against is also Australia. It's more of a mind game than just skills [when you play them on the field].
"Aussies are naturally dominating and if you hold back a bit, they will sit on your head and not let you come up. So if you want to face them or do well against them, you got to bring your best game. You got to raise your standards."
Rodrigues is expecting a good crowd turnout in Australia for the India women and hopes that her dream of playing in a World Cup final will finally materialise at the MCG, come March.
"Wherever we go we get Indian followers and supporters so we never feel away from home. We will be expecting a lot of crowd [in Australia] and that will be a boost for us. We get pumped up when we see them cheering for us. It's a different energy that comes out. There is a different kind of positivity to it.
I think when it comes to Australia, you got to be the best or you can't play. That's the kind of team they are.
"As a young kid I have always dreamed about playing the World Cup and not just playing, but doing well. And that too in packed stadiums. And this hasn't happened to me so far, I wasn't there in the 2017 World Cup. I can't put it in words, how important it will be for me to be a part of the Indian team that plays in a World Cup final. It's quite exciting. I'm really looking forward to it."
The teenager is also a star on social media and her open and refreshing attitude has earned her many followers.
"I really love social media. And the main focus of my social media is that I don't want to portray that I am something else. What I am off the field, I just want to put the same thing out there and I don't want to hide anything.
"Sometimes you get good response, sometimes you don't get. When you score, people are happy.. when you don't score, they say – 'this is the reason why you are not scoring and you should switch off.' But I just want to be myself."
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