Former captain Diana Edulji wants in-form batters Harmanpreet Kaur, a five-year batter, and Smriti Mandhana to max time at center in India’s upcoming games at the 2022 ICC Women’s World Cup.
Edulji, who called for Harmanpreet’s exclusion from the playing XI last month, is happy she was found wrong by the senior batsman, who has hit a hundred and fifty shots against four in the ICC event so far.
Mithali, who has been the team’s most consistent batter over the past 12 months, is yet to fire in the tournament, while Harmanpreet has returned to form after a prolonged lean period that saw her dropped from the bilateral series against New Zealand earlier in the World Cup.
India have two wins and as many defeats at the World Cup and face the mighty Australia after losing to England on Saturday.
“If they (Harman and Smriti) are on form and have confidence in each other, let them play as many overs as possible. They complement each other and they run well between wickets. The opening couple (Smriti and Yastika) are good so Shafali doesn’t seem to be in shape.
“Harmanpreet can bat at three if you want a left-right hand combo, followed by Deepti and Mithali can control the innings at five if there’s a top-order collapse.
“Too many changes are being made at the moment. Let the players know they will hit at this number, tell them they are safe at this number. Harman needs to hit harder now that she’s on form.
“You can always be flexible in the last 20 overs when people like Richa and Pooja get promoted, but your top 4 has to be stable,” Edulji told PTI.
England, who lost all three games before Wednesday, took 134 against India after scoring 317 goals against the West Indies.
“You can’t blow hot and cold like that,” Edulji added.
Shantha Rangaswamy also called for consistency from the batters, but doesn’t want to change the order for the game against Australia. Last year India ended Australia’s 26-game winning streak despite losing 2-1 in a hard-fought away series.
“Both Mithali and Deepti have been under runs earlier but they haven’t clicked in the tournament so far. Hopefully these two, especially Mithali, will fire against Australia as she is the linchpin of India’s strikes.
“With Smriti at the helm and Harman back on form, that bodes well for India. Our bowlers did well during the World Cup. They will overcome a big psychological barrier if they can beat Australia,” said Rangaswamy.
“I don’t see any changes in batting order. Mithali has batted at three for most of her long career. I am confident that she will be among the runs again. Harman, in fifth place, is ideal, the team shouldn’t risk them against the running ball.
“Once she gets going, there’s no stopping her. I’m really looking forward to seeing them back in the runs. She got kicked out of one of the games and that cheered her up. Everyone needs a jolt at some point in their career.”
Rangaswamy added that leg spinner Poonam Yadav could face trials against South Africa and Bangladesh, but not Australia as they “figured them out”.