India’s ODI vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur has not been in the best of international forms since her heroics in the last ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup which was played in England in 2017. Riding on her scintillating 171 not out in the semi-final of the 2017 World Cup against Australia, India reached the finals to play England.
Though India lost the finals by just nine runs, Harmanpreet’s innings remained the talking point for quite some time after the ICC event. However, since that glorious World Cup journey, the right-handed batter has not been among the runs at the international level. She has featured in 25 ODI innings since then and has gone past 50 just twice. In the ongoing India-New Zealand series, she has managed a score of 10 in each of the two ODIs.
On this backdrop, former India captain, Diana Edulji expressed to PTI, “Harmanpreet Kaur can’t survive in the team on the 171 she scored in the 2017 World Cup and it is time to drop her starting with the third ODI against New Zealand.” Though the 32-year old looked in great touch during the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia towards the end of last year, in which she bagged the player of the tournament, she has so far failed to take that form from WBBL into international cricket.
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Eduji added, “If you are going with the same yardstick which was used to drop Jemimah Rodrigues, what the coach (Ramesh Powar) had mentioned, the same yardstick should be applied to Harmanpreet. I am very disappointed with her. She was my favorite player but you can’t survive on that one inning (171 against Australia in 2017). She is only one inning away from a big knock but the effort has to be there. Sneh Rana is a good replacement for her.”
Apart from Kaur, Edulji also wants to see Shafali Verma being dropped and making way for Smriti Mandhana in the third ODI between India and New Zealand that will be played on February 18. Verma opened with Sabbhineni Meghana in the first two ODIs against New Zealand and the latter made an impact in the second ODI scoring 49 runs. So far, Verma has played eight ODIs for India and she averages just 25. She has been around at the international level for two years now and perhaps the bowlers have found out her weaknesses.
Edulji said, “Shafali needs a little rap on the knuckle, she needs proper grooming. She is moving towards the square leg and playing. There is no stillness in her stance. I can’t understand why. When she was scoring, there wasn’t this type of (trigger) movement. Bowlers have found her out and that is why she is moving away from the stumps to play her strokes. But you have to respect the bowlers at this level.”
While Shafali’s form as well as Harmanpreet’s form has been a cause of concern for the Indians ahead of the World Cup, the Indian spinners, who were the strength of the team, in the recent times too haven’t looked that good. In the second ODI, India could not defend 271, due to some ordinary bowling effort and sloppy fielding. Edulji said, “New Zealand batters are very good square of the wicket. Our spinners are not making them play on the front foot enough. They are very good on the back foot. Keep long on and long off, flight the ball more and make them come forward.”
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.