After England’s thumping win over India in the first ODI on Sunday at Bristol, Female Cricket got in touch with the experts; Jaya Sharma, former opening batter of India, and Suman Sharma, former fielding coach of the Indian team to discuss the possible reasons for India’s eight-wicket loss.
Sneh Rana should have been included in the ODI squad:
Reflecting on the loss, Jaya Sharma said, “Our in-form batter Sneh Rana was left out. While we saw in the Test match, India strengthened their batting by including her in the side, I am not sure why they didn’t do the same for the ODI. In the limited-overs format, the need for a genuine all-rounder is even more.”
Suman Sharma added, “Even I think Sneh Rana should have been included as we all witnessed what she can do with both bat and ball. Also, I feel playing Radha Yadav instead of Ekta Bisht would have been a better option. Radha is a complete package as she bowls left-arm spin, can give you handy runs with the bat lower down the order, and of course she is an electric fielder.”
India’s Middle-Order Chaos
After the fall of openers, there was a slowdown in the scoring rate. Jaya said, “It is good that we have explosive openers but what about our world-class middle order. You cannot always be dependent on your openers to win you the matches. Our middle order will have to fire for India to win games and as we know they are very much capable.”
Suman Sharma added, “After the departure of our openers, the upcoming batters consumed a lot of deliveries to get in. This added pressure on the other lower-order batters. It is important that our batters show some more intent and try to score on each and every ball.”
Whether Punam Raut should continue batting at Number.3?
Punam Raut, who came in at number 3, scored at a slow pace, which may have put pressure on the other batters. Jaya said, “Punam is in form. Replacing her, I don’t think is a good idea. She is scoring those 30s and 40s, but in international cricket, if you are an experienced campaigner, getting out after scoring those 30s and 40s is detrimental to the team. I would like to comment on her technique. If you see her backlift, she keeps her bat down when the bowler is coming in and I feel in England, Australia, New Zealand, it will give you less time to read the ball and react. That is why we have seen Punam being a common candidate for leg before. So yes with respect to the discussion about replacing Punam, I don’t feel it is the right time, because we don’t know whether the batters on the bench are in form or not.”
India’s number 3 Punam Raut and number 4 Mithali Raj were the two of the top scorers. However, their scoring rate came under scrutiny after India’s loss. Suman said, “Punam and Mithali have a similar style of play. We need someone to bat with them who can play aggressively and allow them to play their natural game. But when you have two players batting together with a defensive approach you cannot expect the team to score big.”
Need to learn to make technical adjustments from England players
While the England batters have adapted themselves well and made those required technical adjustments, Indian batters have failed to do so. Jaya said, “I have seen English batters make some technical adjustments. For instance, in the Test match, Tammy Beaumont took a middle stump guard when the off-spinners were bowling around the stumps. I have not seen any of the Indian batters making any improvisations.”
Suman added, “If we make more use of the depth of the crease and footwork, our batters will be able to score big and fast. I would like to share an incident. When I was with the Indian team, during one of the home series against the West Indies, their batter Deandra Dottin, who has a bit of an awkward stance, adjusted herself to suit the Indian playing conditions and in the second match itself, she got results. So I think our batters should also make some adjustments against the English bowlers.”
Lack of Quality Pace Bowlers a concern for Team India
In the first innings, India managed to score 201-8 and the bowlers in the second innings could pick up just two wickets. Jaya said, “I think we lack penetration in our bowling attack, except Jhulan, and Shikha in the first few overs. Also a very surprising addition to the playing XI in the form of Ekta Bisht, who is a pure bowler. We could have added Radha Yadav. The difference between the two is Ekta is more round arm and she gets the ball into the batter while Radha is more overarm and she tends to get the ball away from the batter. The English batters read Ekta well and were not afraid to sweep her regularly.”
Dropped Catch will cost us Match
Apart from the ordinary bowing effort, India was not good on the field too, as there were a few fielding lapses, the most crucial one being that of Ekta Bisht, who dropped Natalie Sciver, who had just come in to bat. Suman said, “After that dropped catch, there was a drop in confidence. It makes a lot of psychological differences as well. Sciver took that in her stride and went on to score that match-winning knock.”
England chased down the target in 34.5 overs, with eight wickets in hand. The second ODI of the three-match series will be played on Wednesday at Taunton.
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.