Ahead of the third ODI, Shikha Pandey has admitted that the Indian women’s team needs to get into a better rhythm together, instead of pin-pointing at the batting or bowling department. With the World Cup coming ahead, she insisted that the team needs to employ a fearless brand of cricket.
India’s draw in the Bristol Test raised the hopes and the expectations from the team, going into the three-match ODI series. However, the Blues hit a familiar territory, where they were bamboozled by England across all three departments, with India’s lacklustre batting coming to the fore. While India managed to claw England back in the second ODI, it wasn’t enough, as Sophia Dunkley and Katherine Brunt took the team home.
Ahead of the third ODI, Indian all-rounder Shikha Pandey admitted that the team needs to get into a better rhythm together, in order to beat opponents. She also insisted that the batting and bowling departments should be in sync with each other and should help each other.
"So just thinking ahead about what we can do as a team together. Whatever runs the batters score, the bowlers have to defend it. Whatever runs the bowlers initially get, the other team to score, the batting team has to go out there and chase it. So I wouldn't say it's just one department lagging. I would just say that together as a team we need to get into a better rhythm," Shikha said ahead of the final ODI.
For India, this series isn’t an ultimatum, however, with the World Cup coming ahead next year, the three ODIs paint a realistic picture of where the team stands. The all-rounder batted for the team to play a fearless brand of cricket, something that other nations such as England, Australia and South Africa have been doing in women’s cricket. She also stated that the batting unit has to play with a more positive attitude.
"At the very outset, if you actually see it's the start, and it's something we are working towards. We want to be going ahead and play a fearless brand of cricket, and we're working towards it. This is kind of a build-up to the World Cup next year, and in the games ahead we will have a positive attitude and we will look to score runs for the team to win."
Mithali Raj has stood as a lone performer in the batting department, with senior players Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur struggling to find their feet. However, Shikha insisted that it is only a matter of time before they return to form and help the team clinch the final ODI against England.
"We all know how good batters they are, Smriti and Harman, they are world class batters. It's just one innings that they need to get under their belt and we're all backing them. I'm sure in the next few games - probably in the next game itself - they both will be back and help the team to win the game."
With the World Cup in sight, a tournament that India succumbed in its last edition, Shikha added that the team has to back their strengths and insisted that they could beat any team in the world, on their night.
"I think we did pretty well in all the three departments in the second game and we are catching up. It's just about backing our strengths and we know as a team we are a very good team. When we play to our strengths and we have a good day, we know that we can beat any team in the world. So we're just backing ourselves and looking forward to the next game, and not thinking too much about what has happened," she concluded.