‘One can say from outside that you should have done this or that but when…..’ – Yastika Bhatia knows what needs to do better

Yastika Bhatia (Pic Source- Twitter)
Yastika Bhatia: Having played in the World Cup, I have come to know what I need to do better. The 22-year-old youngster did wonders in the recent past WPL

Since the beginning of 2022, the Indian team has played a total of 35 T20 matches. Yastika Bhatia has appeared in only 13 of them. However, those 13 matches included the final of the Commonwealth Games and the semi-final of the Women’s T20 World Cup in February this year. The Indian team management sees him as a player who can handle himself very well under pressure.

Ahead of the Bangladesh tour, she said, “I am still learning how to play in pressure situations. However, that usually comes from experience.” In the final of the Commonwealth Games, Yastika had come in to bat at number 9 in place of the injured Tania Bhatia. Then India needed 17 runs in 11 balls. However, Yastika could score only two runs in five balls and was trapped leg before trying to reverse sweep. India lost that final by just nine runs.

Talking about that shot, Yastika said, “One can say from outside that you should have done this or that but when you are in the field you know what is going on and how to deal with that situation.” “If that shot had been taken and a boundary established, everyone would have had a different response. My goal was to help the team win the game. I will always put out my best effort.”

Yastika says that handling pressure at the international level is quite different from domestic cricket. She scored 223 runs in six matches in the Senior Women’s T20 Trophy, 212 in six matches in the Senior Women’s Inter-Zonal Trophy and 203 runs in four matches in the Senior Women’s T20 Challenger Trophy in 2022-23. She often remained not out while chasing difficult targets, Which also includes the final of the T20 Challenger Trophy for India D.

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Yastika says, “At the domestic level if you play four dot balls and then you hit the fifth ball for a four, you can easily cover that pressure. But you don’t get boundaries easily at the international level. You have to be alert from the very first ball itself and you don’t have much room for error. However, it is only under such pressure that you can perform at your best. How do you understand your potential if you play only for Baroda? You need to have played at the international level to understand the whole process.”

Yastika did exceptionally well in the Women’s Premier League (WPL 2023). During that time she formed a formidable opening partnership with Hayley Mathews of the West Indies and scored a total of 214 runs in the tournament. Yastika had a clear message from head coach Charlotte Edwards that she would play all the matches in the season. This gave Yastika a “huge boost of confidence”.

“You must have noticed my achievement during the WPL 2023. I was given a lot of freedom by her. I was told that you just go on the field and play like a young player. Don’t take any kind of pressure. There are a lot of good batsmen after you. So you don’t have to just rotate the strike. You play your game.

At the age of 22 and in only her second year of international cricket, Yastika has played in ODIs and T20 World Cups, Commonwealth and one Test. She knows very well how to play and what skills she needs to polish.

Sharing her learnings from the World Cup, she says, “If I focus on just one thing, I usually get it done. This has been my biggest strength since childhood. It doesn’t always happen that all expectations are met in competitions like the World Cup because the other team is also there (to win) after a lot of effort. Perhaps our efforts are not enough and we need to do more. It’s about learning from other teams or watching players from your own team; We can learn from what they have done well. You can understand them only once you go through those situations. Playing the World Cup showed me who I am and what I need to improve on. It was an excellent learning experience for me.”

And when things don’t go according to plan, Yastika often turns to her parents

“I express my feelings to my parents – They listen without saying anything, but I know they always support me. They don’t judge me at all and say ‘You have come above all odds so you can come through this too’. My coaches Kiran [More] sir and Santosh [Chougule] sir help me in finding out what is lacking in my game.”

The Bangladesh tour marks the beginning of a busy season for India. Which includes Test matches against England and Australia as well as white-ball series against South Africa and New Zealand. Along with this, the Indian team will also have an eye on the T20 World Cup to be held in Bangladesh next year. Yastika has already got a taste of this kind of high-level cricket and wants to go even further in it.

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