Former captain Diana Edulji feels the Indian women’s team will have to learn from the repeated mistakes it is making at the moment to end its ICC title drought in the upcoming T20 World Cup. The tournament is to be held in Australia from February 21.
Chasing 155 against Australia in the tri-series final in Melbourne on Wednesday, India collapsed to 144 all out after sitting comfortable at 115 for three in the 15th over.
Edulji, who did a lot for women’s cricket during her 33-month tenure as a member of the Committee of Administrators running the BCCI, said the current team is losing games which it should win far too many times.
“There is something wrong with this team. This is a team which can win every game and it does win from an unlikely situation but the next game it is losing from a comfortable position like it did today. They are simply not consistent enough.
“They have all the facilities at their disposal now, at par with men, and yet they have not been able to play consistent cricket and win ICC trophies. If they play like the way they are playing, they will make the semifinals again (at T20 World Cup) but I don’t see them winning the trophy,” Edulji told PTI shortly after India’s loss at the Junction Oval.
In the tri-series, India won and lost a game each against Australia and England in the league stage before faltering against the hosts in the final. The team is prone to crumbling under pressure in big games.
India, who went unbeaten into the semifinals of the 2018 World T20, came a cropper against England. In 2017, India were cruising towards their maiden ODI World Cup title before the middle-order collapsed inexplicably. Back then, the team was given a rousing reception despite finishing runners-up.
Edulji reckons the batters’ running between the wickets and shot selection can be a lot better.
“They are so lazy that they never try for a second. These are the things that make all the difference. It is a single or a boundary, there is nothing in between,” said the 64-year who played 20 Tests and 36 ODIs.
While Smriti Mandhana has been solid at the top, the likes of Jemimah Rodrigues and skipper Harmanpreet have not been as consistent. The middle-order anyway has not fired regularly.
“Both Harmanpreet and Jemimah need to pull up their socks. Maybe Harman should give up captaincy and play her natural game. Something seems to be troubling her. But who else takes over then. If Smriti is handed captaincy, it might affect her batting too,” said Edulji.
In the bowling department, the team has been relying on spinners for a long time as there are hardly any quality pacers around.
“It just shows there are no quality pacers in domestic cricket. You only have Shikha Pandey of some calibre. What is being done to produce pacers? We are bound to play with a spin heavy attack if there are no pacers around.
“We are not concentrating on junior cricket enough. How come Australia have pacers who can bowl at 120 kmph and we don’t?” asked Edulji.
India play their T20 World Cup opener against defending champions Australia on the opening day.
“Going forward, they need to undergo mental strengthening courses. At the moment, you will see them making the semis and finals but an added push is required if they are to hold the trophy,” Edulji added.
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