Given my association with women"s cricket, I found their media rapport to be pretty bad. How do you intend to turn that around because with out the media you are going nowhere, it is as crucial as your finances or organising ability?
Whenever we are having any activity we need to feed this information into the media. And we also are going to have one person who is going to keep on giving whatever information that needs to be going out into the press.
What are your thoughts on the merger of cricket Bsoards?
Basically, I think if the men"s cricket association is involved with the women"s cricket association here it is definitely going to benefit. There is just no doubt about that. This we have seen in countries like New Zealand, Australia and England where both the associations have merged. And the women cricketers are getting the same facilities as the men have been getting.
Basically, it is going to improve the ground facilities and also help us avail the expertise of quality trainers and physiotherapist. That apart, they have coaching courses for the men so if they could allow us (girls) to avail of those education facilities, I think, it is going to help us a lot.
We have not really discussed merger. We have been talking about the men"s cricket association helping us but there is nothing immediate on the cards.
I also hear that there have been talks of a merger of the ICC and IWCC for sometime now. Could you also shed light on the scene out there?
There has been a lot of discussion between International Cricket Council (ICC) and the International Women"s Cricket Council (IWCC) about the merger. Some countries have put forward this idea of a merger/unification of the men"s cricket board and the women"s Board. Right now things are looking positive.
Finally, what are the forth-coming tours?
We have New Zealand coming in November-December and there is this proposed tour of England (I think that will come through) at the end of February and Sri Lanka has also invited us to play a triangular series. So this is going to be the immediate future in the next year or so.
Actually right now our preparation is starting for the World Cup which is in South Africa in 2005. We have a good one-and-a-half years and I think we are going to give our girls that much time to prepare and be fit for the World Cup.
Talking of being fit, basically, our girls also need to put in a little effort in the sense, skill wise we are as good as any team – in fact we are a little better, but fitness wise I don"t know if our girls are exposed to the kind of fitness workouts which the other countries have.
I am not sure how many of our cricketers have personal trainers to tell them what they should be doing to achieve their peak levels of fitness. I think there are so many things involved in the fitness part of it. Actually, when you are playing at the highest level there is a lot of effort that you have to put in not only by way of skills but also on the fitness front.
I think it is time our cricketers started taking help from professional trainers. And when we are talking about fitness it is not just going to the gym. It is like, yes you have gym, you have to work on your speed and agility, you need to do stretching – it could also involve yoga. There are three-four areas that need to be covered to achieve peak levels of fitness and there should be somebody training our cricketers for that.
I think, it"s time our cricketers seriously got down to getting themselves to be more fit.
Now that you"ve raised the fitness subject, how do you intend to imbibe this fitness culture into the girls now that you are in a position to do so?
We are planning to have a preliminary camp which will focus on fitness. Since I have been a player myself, one thing I know is that you can"t keep on getting after players, in other words you can"t keep having camps for the players because they are not doing something on their own.
You know, it is like we introduce them to what they are supposed to do. In fact, we can first analyse their level of fitness – give them a fitness program – they go back and they maintain that program – then the next time they come we again check whether their levels of fitness has improved or not. If the girls have not worked on their fitness, obviously, when the girls come back it is going to tell.
The point is when you are playing for India or for that matter the state you should be self-motivated. Once you are told what to do to achieve a level of fitness you are supposed to go back and do that.
So what we are thinking of doing is first holding a camp to introduce them to this kind of a program and then they are expected to keep pace. There is no way we are going to keep holding camps just because they are not working out at home.The fitness levels cannot be achieved only at the camps. It is a continuous program. So if they start now we are talking about one-and-a-half years for the World Cup, I think they are going to be in good form.
I see more and more former cricketers joining the fold. How do you think that is going to help the cause of the game?
It is going to help a lot. Basically, they know the game and the they know the problems which the players are going to have. I was very pleased with the kind of response that I got after I got elected. It is like the players have come forward to say, “let us know what you want us to do". In the committee itself we have Shantha, we have Diana, Sandhya Agarwal, Nilima, Sudha and all of them have come forward to give whatever support they have.
There is Anjali Pendarkar, there is Vrindha Bhagat and all of them are good in different areas. I think, if we can combine all their plus points it is going to help our association a lot. In short, it is a very good thing that we have players coming out to help the organisation.
I am also given to understand that you are thinking of coming out with an exclusive website for Women"s Cricket Association of India. What is it all about?
For the last three-four years this idea has been on my mind because there are a lot of people who have been asking about women"s cricket and the information is just not available. Moreover most people are now getting computer literate so if this information is available on the website it is going to provide a lot of information about not only our association and our activities but also about our players. I think, we have got a good lot of player and the exposure is required for them.
So we have got two of our ex-India cricketers Bhagat and Pendarkar who are working on this. Bhagat is going to design it and Pendarkar is going to update it. Hopefully we will also have the statistics because that is another area which, I think, we have been neglecting over the years. We hardly have the records of the matches, scores and statistics in general.
Lastly, what is on the agenda during IWCC meeting that you are going to attend some time in July?
Basically, the World Cup which is going to be held in South Africa is going to be talked about. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has asked for affiliation because there is a likelihood of the PCB merger with the Pakistan women"s Board and that is also going to be discussed. That apart, there are other small issues that will be discussed.