ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020
India the 'sleeping giant': Mott
The sky could be the limit for India as they become increasingly professional, Australia coach Matthew Mott believes
17 May 2019, 10:33 AM AEST
India are the 'sleeping giant' of women's cricket who loom as the next major force in the game, Australia coach Matthew Mott believes.
Since making the final of the 50-over World Cup in the UK in 2017, where they finished runners-up to England, the Indian women's cricket team is experiencing unprecedented levels of interest from the nation's cricket-mad fans, while their pay and professionalism are also increasing.
They made the semi-finals of last November's T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and currently boast the world's top-ranked ODI batter in Smriti Mandhana and the top-ranked ODI bowler in Jhulan Goswami, while they possess a genuine superstar in T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur and one of the most exciting young talents in batter Jemimah Rodrigues.
If their upward trajectory continues – and if the professionalism of Indian women's cricket continues to improve – Mott believes the sky could be the limit for India, who have made two World Cup finals but have yet to claim an ICC title.
"They're the sleeping giant in women's cricket," Mott told cricket.com.au.
"They've got a country that's mad on the game, and in their batting they've already got three or four world-class players.
"The depth in their batting is outstanding, their bowling's got potential as well and their fielding has improved out of sight."
A women's Indian Premier League is currently the missing piece of the puzzle for India, who don't have any professional structure below the national team.
But progress is also being made on that front; a one-off IPL exhibition match was played last year and four games were played between three teams during the recently concluded IPL season.
It's hoped a full competition could be launched in the next couple of years.
"They're going to be a force in world cricket," Mott said.
"Having made that World Cup final (in 2017), and they've got a country of a billion people behind them as well, they're going to be a huge force."
Australia are set to play a significant role in helping strengthen the depth in Indian cricket, having formed an agreement with the Board of Control for Cricket in India to host annual 'A' series between the nations.
The first series was held in October last year, when Australia A claimed a one-day series win over their rivals before the hosts bounced back to take out the T20 series.
This December, it will be Australia's turn to host India A, with the teams to face off in three 50-over matches and three T20s in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
It's an arrangement that will strengthen the pathways of both nations, with Mott explaining the benefits of giving young players the chance to experience overseas travel and playing conditions before arriving at the highest level.
"It's absolutely critical," he said. "If you're going to create a genuine pathway, you've got to give players an opportunity to develop, particularly overseas.
"You don't know how players are going to cope with the extra stress and demand of touring unless they've done it.
"And it's a huge part of being an international player, adapting to different cultures and venues, travel and play, (those factors) can sort very good players out from the greats."
CommBank Ashes Tour of England
First ODI Grace Road, Leicester, July 2
Second ODI Grace Road, Leicester, July 4
Third ODI St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury, July 7
First T20 County Ground, Chelmsford, July 26
Second T20 The County Ground, Hove, July 28
Third T20 Bristol County Ground, Bristol, July 31
A Test victory is worth four points (two each for a draw), two points are awarded for ODI and T20 wins