We need mental coaching, strengthening: Anjum

Published: Thursday, March 8, 2001, 18:23 [IST]
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But did it not strike you all that there would be a vacuum in the middle order?

No, the middle order was packed with me, Anju and Chander.

Precisely! With you all being openers is it not a new role for you all to be playing the in middle order?

I was always assigned to go one drop with Chander two and then Anju. But at the fall of Smitha's wicket it was decided that Chander would go ahead of me.

So, eventually both the openers ended up in the middle order. Moreover, the act of having one opener and a pinch hitter is justifiable but what sense does it make to have two pinch hitters? Normally, if out of the two batsmen at the crease one is going great guns then it is advisable for the other to drop anchor and revolve around the other. Having two batsmen go for their strokes, one felt was asking for trouble?

Well, at that time it was the best decision we all could come up with. Yes, it was risky but all of us were very positive that it was going to pay off. Today, we can say it did not pay off and we should not have done that.

Yes, that's exactly what I intended to drive home when I said, Conducting an experiment of such a magnitude in the semis was a risk because you don't have a second chance to say we shouldn't have done that and this?

Yeah, it probably could be termed as an experiment but then given the experience of Purnima and Smitha we were confident it would pay off. Again I stress that it was probably the big occasion that got to us because even in our camps we had worked out the various combinations.

In fact Purnima went opening in quite a few of those practice matches. Even with our fielding we had done a lot of work in the camps. It's just that we had a bad game on the big day.

So in the final analysis, mentally you all caved in. Though you had all prepared well with sufficient practice, eventually lack of mental preparedness did you in. So given this revelation do you suppose in future you need somebody working on the mental aspect of the game also?

Yes, along with our technique and basics we need mental coaching and mental strengthening and professional at that.

Switching topics and coming to the domestic front, I haven't seen much of an improvement, at least in the past 10 years - in terms of the game being marketed and packaged? As a result we are still struggling to hold our basic tournaments on a regular basis. Do you see things changing or will women's cricket continue to be were it is?

No I feel women's cricket has come up, especially after this World Cup. This World Cup has helped women's cricket to a great extent in terms of publicity. Now with the Internet coming into the scene may be people are bring made aware of the sport.

Part II to follow

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