In retrospect, I would have done things differently: Smitha

Published: Tuesday, February 6, 2001, 18:23 [IST]
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Bangalore: Smitha Harikrishna was very much an integral part of the Indian World Cup team that made it "so near, yet so far," in the World Cup at New Zealand in December last year. Smitha, in a two-part exclusive interview with Thatscricket.com, shared her views on women's cricket in India.

Talking about what needs to be done to rejuvenate the game and make India a winning combination, she said, "It requires a wholesale effort form everybody involved with the game. The associations have to do their bit, the players have to chip in, in general a combined effort." The following is the second part of the free-wheeling interview:

Coming back to the World Cup, we witnessed that even in a very important match such as the semi-finals there were experiments of major proportions undertaken, which gives the opinion that there was no settled game plan. Given that you had seven matches to experiment your various combinations, don't you think it reflects as slackness on the part of the think-tank to have conducted a major reshuffle in the batting line-up at the knock out stage?

I guess it was a gamble they took, if it clicked it clicked. Initially, we had Mithali with us and things were smooth sailing but once she took ill we had to reshuffle our batting line-up.

But Mithali took ill before you played Australia, New Zealand and after that you had quite a few games. She was going one down and so basically you had to push the batting order one slot up. Moreover Chandrakanta is very much used to the one down slot. But having your batting order (top five) totally reversed was mind-boggling?

I guess the team's think-tank felt they needed it, so they made the move… It basically was a gamble, if it paid of it paid of.

You've played cricket for quite sometime now (11yrs) and you've realised that it has not repaid as much, as much as in if you would have invested your time, energy and thoughts in a different field. Given this history, what are your future plans?

Right now, I am doing my MBA so I definitely would like to concentrate on my studies since the job scene is pretty dismal in women's cricket, apart from Railways and Air India - and Air India is as good as nothing since it is only on a contract basis. I did approach the Railways and they said, "If all are going to play for the Railways who is going to play against them."

So until and unless more institutions come up with jobs it is difficult to stick on because you have to rethink your career after sometime. With regards to me, I have another two years of studies so until I plan on getting married I will continue to play.

Talking about more institutions coming forward, even if they were to recruit women cricketers and form teams, don't you think that apart from the humanitarian grounds on which they are willing to extend their help they also look forward to some sort of a return from the game? If women's cricket is not able to give them even the barest minimum of media mileage, why would anybody come forward to recruit?

Like I said, it all boils down to having more tournaments. The game has to be marketed, people should get to know that women do play cricket, we should make the game more interesting, thereby create public interest and then things will change.

Yeah, so before we do that, don't you think it is unfair to expect the institutions to come forward to promote the game?

I guess so.

Down the years, do you foresee yourself coming into the association and trying to do women's cricket some good?

At this point of time it is difficult to say, if I am here and given a chance, why not? I am doing my post graduation in administration so if required I guess I will. It is really hard to say, 10 years down the line…but I would definitely like to give back something to the game.

Do you foresee women's cricket reaching a stage where it will be a lucrative career option?

Right now, the way it is, no. But if things change and India do well on the international stage on a consistence basis, probably then more sponsors will come in, which means we will have more tournaments. So if these things happen, yes I see a future.

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