Mithali Raj: India Need To Groom Pacers Besides Veteran Jhulan Goswami
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India Need To Groom Pacers Other Than Veteran Jhulan Goswami, Says Mithali Raj

File image of Jhulan Goswami | Andrew Couldridge/Reuters
File image of Jhulan Goswami | Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

Mithali Raj, the Indian Women Cricket team’s skipper on Sunday said the time has come for the Indian women’s team to think beyond long-serving and over-worked veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami by grooming young pace bowlers for the future.

Mithali Raj blamed both the batting as well as the bowling units for India’s below-par show in the first ODI against England on Sunday, which the visitors lost by eight wickets to go down 0-1 in the three-match series.

Mithali Raj scored her 56th ODI fifty but struggled for rhythm Getty Images
Mithali Raj scored her 56th ODI fifty but struggled for rhythm Getty Images.

Mithali Raj: India Needs Top 5 Batswomen To Get Runs In Next Few Games Against Experienced England Bowlers

Sent in to bat, India played 181 dot balls to post a modest 201 for eight, which England chased down with 91 balls to spare. Mithali Raj top-scored with a 108-ball 72 but aside from Shafali Verma, who made a 14-ball 15, no India batter could score at a 90-plus strike rate.

England’s four-pronged seam attack did its part to keep a hold on the opposition’s scoring rate. The next-best score from the India batters came from No. 3 Punam Raut, whose 61-ball 32 did little to inject urgency in the innings.

“Yes, we need to look into that aspect and keep on rotating strike,” Raj said about the dot balls during the post-match virtual press conference.

“We need our top-5 batters to get runs. We also need to understand that England seamers are very experienced. They know how to bowl in their conditions.”

Punam Raut (Photo: PTI)
Punam Raut (Photo: PTI)

She said her side’s seam bowlers were not up to the mark.

“It puts pressure (on the opposition) if we can get early wickets. If we don’t get wickets from the seamers it puts pressure on the spinners. So we need to groom fast bowlers other than Jhulan. They should learn on how to understand conditions and bowl well accordingly,” she added.

Mithali Raj made a patient 72 off 108 balls to help India go past the 200-run mark after the early dismissals of openers Shafali Verma (15) and Smriti Mandhana (10).

Mithali Raj Opens Up On Decision To Bat Down The Order At No. 4 From Preferred No. 3 Position

But her knock was not enough as Indian batters failed to rotate the strike and find boundaries to accelerate the scoring rate.

“Our batting lineup needs to fire at some point. Over the years we are far more comfortable chasing than posting targets. We need to work on that, we need to know how to get 250,” she said.

“But we just can’t go bang bang and lose wickets. We need to know when to push the acceleration and how to get that.”

Mithali Raj said the team management also needs to back the players’ side by side, as she hinted that there might be a few changes in the composition of the playing eleven in the second ODI.

“It is important to back players especially who has done well in the past. Sometimes it is a gamble to play stroke players. But we need to back players to groom them keeping the World Cup in mind. Apart from the captain, coach, and support staff, the selectors also play a big part in that and we are in constant touch with them,” she said.

“We will definitely look into the composition, a little bit shuffle in the batting order to get over the line.”

Mithali Raj Twitter
Mithali Raj Twitter

The skipper said that since she is standing at the twilight of her career, it is her duty to groom her replacement batswoman and future stars of the team.

“…when it comes to finishers we clearly don’t have players for that slot who scored runs at the domestic level. We need to groom someone who shows potential in that area. I have got most of my runs in No. 3 slot but it is important to get batters in that slot. We need to have batters who can score runs. I am not going to play for long so it is my duty to groom players,” Mithali said about her decision to drop down the order at No. 4 from her preferred No. 3 slot.

While Tammy Beaumont smashed 87 runs in 87 balls, Natalie Sciver hammered 74 runs in 74 runs as England women won the match in 34.5 overs. With the win, England took a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series. The 2nd match of the series will be played on Wednesday.

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