India’s Jhulan Goswami threw her weight behind the team’s misfiring middle-order and insisted that world-class players like Harmanpreet Kaur and Punam Raut need just one good knock to get themselves back into form. Goswami also challenged the pacers to put up a better showing come the 2nd ODI.
Notorious for adopting a ‘20th century approach’, India’s middle-order yet again failed to hurt the opposition bowlers in the first ODI against England as the trio of Punam Raut, Mithali Raj and Harmapreet Kaur, despite spending time in the middle, failed to up the ante. While Raut and Mithali batted a total of 169 balls under a SR of 70, Kaur lasted just 7 balls and failed to provide the flurry at the end she is famous for. Failure to capitalize in the middle-overs eventually came back to bite India as the visitors were thumped by Heather Knight’s England, who coasted to victory with 15 overs to spare.
Many have called for a change in personnel in order to reinvigorate the middle-order, but veteran Jhulan Goswami has disagreed. Speaking ahead of the second ODI, Goswami lavished praise on the experienced Indian batters, and asserted that one good performance is all that’ll be needed for the visitors to turn their fortunes around.
"They [Punam Raut, Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur] just need one good knock among them. Then definitely we'll be on a great platform. These things happen in cricket,” Goswami said ahead of the second ODI.
"This is a sport. Every day is a new day, every day is new learning. And hopefully one good innings from the three - Punam... Mithali has been very consistent, in the South Africa series also she batted well, this series also in the first ODI she scored runs. Harman needs one good knock and she'll be back. So we just need one good match from our middle order.”
But despite batting letting the team down in the first ODI, Goswami stressed that the bowlers will also have to raise their levels. India’s bowling has not been up to the mark in three of the team’s last four ODIs, and Goswami attested that the bowlers will have to ‘come back strong’.
"Well honestly speaking we have to come back as a bowling group strongly. Whatever score will be there on the board we have to come back as a unit. We have to come back as a bowling unit," the 38-year-old said.
Barring Goswami - 1/25 off 6 overs - and Deepti Sharma, all the other bowlers were dispatched rather easily by the English batters, with everyone boasting an ER over 5.50. The pacers, in particular, strayed with their lines and lengths, and hence paid the price for the same, with all seamers barring Goswami going wicketless. The veteran admitted that the seamers underperformed in match one, but stressed that the talented Indian unit will fare better come the second game.
"It's just that our bowling unit, particularly medium pacers unit has not fired as it should have, so things look a bit wayward but I'm sure we all have a lot of talent and we are going to come back strongly," she said.
The second ODI will kick-off later today in Taunton.