Inspired by Kohli, Dhoni’s approach in middle overs: Australia women’s vice-captain

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Kolkata, April 1 (IANS) Australia women’s team vice-captain Alex Blackwell said on Friday that she is inspired by the way India’s Virat Kohli and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni approach their game in the middle overs.

“My job is to have an impact in the middle order to upset the opposition bowlers. I like to be a 360-degree player. Sometimes in these conditions I don’t get to play the behind square shots too often, so I am focusing on the shots in front of the wicket, turning the ones into twos,” Blackwell told the media here.

“Perhaps be inspired by someone like a Virat Kohli and an M.S. Dhoni and how they approach those middle overs. That is my job, to make ones into twos. Clearing the ropes isn’t my game. Yes, I am a boundary hitter, more fours than sixes but then it is also about running hard between the wickets.”

Asked how it is like to play the tournament alongside the men’s competition, Blackwell said, “Fantastic to play alongside the men in the T20 World Cup, we have done it since 2009.”

The game, she said “is a little different when we play. Lack of power and pace on the ball, so you are not going to see the same product but it is equally exciting. The way the girls go about, battling it out, it’s the same sort of drama.”

Australia will play against the West Indies in the final on Sunday at the historic Eden Gardens. In 1997, Australia had won the women’s 50-over World Cup here.

“Now we are in Kolkata, it is a popular place for women’s cricket. We won the cup here back in 1997 led by Belinda Clark. She sends her well wishes and reminded us this is like a home to the Australians. We are looking forward to the challenge. We have played the West Indies before in the finals of the World Cup so we know them well,” she said.

Speaking about the semi-finals where they beat arch-rivals England by five runs, she said, “It was also great to beat such an English side, I really think they did well in their power play.”

“Maybe a lot of people thought that we’ll have it easy. But it was difficult playing out there with the ball getting older, and at the last we are good to get over the line.”

Women cricketers are paid less than their male counterparts, but Blackwell believes the salary gap is going to get narrow with time.

“Gender should not determine your pay, I do agree with equal pay but in the business of sport, it is to do with how the money comes in the media rights and things like that. I do not expect such a split currently.”

Alex added: “The conditions should be equal, and I am proud to say that as the Australian team we travel like the men do and stay in the same accommodation and with time the pay difference will reduce.”

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