There was clamor and a celebration reminiscent of David Warner’s. Jemimah Rodrigues, a devout Christian, doesn’t frequently make such overt shows of aggression or emotion on the cricket pitch. However, this was unique. Therefore, after helping India defeat Pakistan by seven wickets in the 2023 T20 World Cup opener, Rodrigues took an additional 10 seconds to dedicate her fifty to her proud parents by raising her bat to their balcony seats at the Newlands before including a patiently cheering Richa Ghosh in her celebrations.
Before Ghosh joined her in the middle, Rodrigues was stumbling along at around a run-a-ball. Shafali Verma kept transferring the strike to her more fluid teammates with gentle taps, drives, and innocuous sweeps. even if she wasn’t precisely able to send the ball all the way to the ropes, or Harmanpreet Kaur. The intention had been clear from the beginning. However, with her skipper leaving at the end of Nashra Sandhu’s superb middle-overs performance of 2/15 and another 55 needed in 36, the experienced batter realised it was time to assume leadership. However, violence wasn’t always the solution.
Whether grabbing singles or playing about with the field, Rodrigues’ hitting has always been known for its shrewdness. She walked to the offside, leaving no fine leg in place, inviting Fatima Sana to bowl at the exposed stumps as she knelt to swivel it to the unattended boundary. Rogers acted in so again, while Ghosh took advantage of Aiman Anwer’s errant delivery to snag three straight fours and reduce the equation to 13 off 11 before surrendering the strike.
Sana used a short-ball strategy but offered breadth out of frustration. This time, Rodrigues jumped over the fielder in the ring and whacked the ball over the open third man zone after creating extra space. Then, with one over left, she hammered the next one past more cover to end the game.
Pakistan had bowled well up until that moment in India’s record-breaking 150 World Cup chase, but fell behind when an asking rate of over 10 at the end didn’t particularly trouble the fourth-wicket combination. In In part, it was due to the trust and comradery that both Rodrigues and Ghosh had developed during a same 92-run partnership in their most recent official warm-up match against Bangladesh, after suffering similar early wicket losses. During that time, India amassed 132 runs in the second half of their innings to register a commanding total of 183. Ghosh had led the way with an unbeaten 91 off 56, while Rodrigues had scored 41 runs in 27 balls.
Therefore, we understood that any goal could be attained as long as we were both present, Rodrigues said of their strategy on Sunday. “What we both agreed on was that we need singles off every ball, and any stray balls they bowl are an added bonus. As a result, we received nine to twelve runs. without taking any risks or accomplishing anything. That is the topic of our chat. But yes, we were very clear about the balls we needed to pick up and the manner in which we needed to play responsibly at the same time. We were prepared, so we knew we had to finish it.
“We weren’t very worried by the 150-run image. How we could hit the little goals in order to hit the broader goal was more important to us. We were certainly aiming for bowlers, and there was a lot of talking going on. We kept an eye on the scoreboard so we knew which bowlers we could target and which ones required a bit more caution because they were also bowling. incredibly well and not providing us with many simple choices. Additionally, the wicket was slower than usual, which somewhat aided their spinners. We simply needed to play sensibly and wisely, which is what we did. I’m delighted the results were on our side, she continued.
Every one of her nine contributions of 30+ since making a comeback last year has demonstrated the maturity to handle these challenging situations. In all fairness, though, Rodrigues had only missed a pointless one-off T20I that India had played in New Zealand at a time when the 2022 ODI World Cup was the only thing on everyone’s mind. However, at this time last year, the top-order batsman for India was still reeling from a World Cup rejection that prompted Her return seemed more laborious and prolonged.
When she “wasn’t in a good mood,” her family, friends, and teammates rushed to her assistance and support. A break was beneficial. Eventually, a distressed Rodrigues modified her approach to practise and preparation in order to get herself together. She stated she “wouldn’t alter anything” about the path she took to find the love of cricket after pushing herself to step outside of her comfort zone.
She was quite honest with the media in Cape Town when she said, “Honestly, many times I had nothing to tell myself.” “I gave up so many times because I lacked the strength to continue… But even then, I was still confident in myself. I was fortunate to have friends who supported me and given me the willpower to go through that period.”
The 22-year-old developed a strategy with her coach Prashant Shetty and her father Ivan Rodrigues to increase her game time by participating in at least two matches each week against a local U-19 boys’ team. Those matches wouldn’t take place on easily accessible level surfaces, but rather at Mumbai’s unkempt and poorly managed Azad Maidan, where the morning’s virtually damp pitches would radically change into rank-turners by the time of the second innings.
“Conditions were difficult… and [against] top-notch bowlers. But, you know, those small runs—I think I scored around 45 runs in the first game—really helped to boost my confidence. It was comparable to making an 80 or so on a flat track. So by pushing myself in such difficult situations, I was able to step beyond of my comfort zone.
Playing against the U-14 boys before the domestic season added pressure because I was an Indian player playing against under-14 guys. Since I’m being really honest, those were my thoughts at the time. That was a lot of pressure, but I also had to go through those ideas. However, in my opinion, all of these tiny things just add together to make you the player that you are. And I am appreciative of all that occurred.”
Jemimah Rodrigues manipulated the field by using the sweep shot.
Using the Jemimah Rodrigues field-manipulating sweep shot ©Getty
Rodrigues has only been a type of T20 specialist for India since last year’s setback, and a pretty good one at that. She was India’s second-best player on the Sri Lanka tour and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games earlier in the year, and she topped the run charts in the Asia Cup (217 runs). Since the beginning of the 2022 season, she has scored 573 runs overall, averaging 40.92.
According to those criteria, a subpar home series against Australia in December of last year followed, but Rodrigues repaid the management’s confidence by scoring 42* against West Indies in the tri-series match before this World Cup on a challenging East London pitch.
It’s a constant It is good to have the support of your entire squad and to have them believe in your abilities “Rodrigues acknowledged Hrishikesh Kanitkar, the batting coach for the national team, for his support throughout.
That evening, too, feelings were raw.
“When I scored 42 against the West Indies, I was not out, and Captain Harmanpreet Kaur was at my side. I went back and gave her a big embrace while thanking her for her support, which meant a lot to me. You know you’re a very significant player for us, you matter to us, and you’ll play a key part, she said. Therefore, even the smallest amount of encouragement is always helpful, and I am grateful for it. I’m thankful for it.