Indian captain Mithali Raj points out the reasons for the loss in the first ODI.

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Indian women’s cricket team put in a disappointing performance in the first One Day International against England in Bristol. India was able to put up a score of only 201 on the board. Captain Mithali Raj top-scored with 77 runs. England chased down India’s target easily inside 35 overs with eight wickets in hand.

India Women vs England Women, 1st ODI: Tourists bowled out for 202 after middle-order collapse

Indian skipper Mithali Raj blames both the batting as well as the bowling units for India’s below-par show in the first ODI as they trail 0-1 in the three-match series.

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“Our batting line up needs to fire at some point” : Mithali Raj

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Talking about the batting issues, Raj highlighted the percentage of dot balls and lack of strike rotation. Except for Shafali Verma, no other batter could conjure a strike rate of over 100 during their innings in the first ODI. India played a total 181 dot balls in their first innings.

“We need to look into that aspect and keep on rotating strike,” Raj said about the dot balls during the post-match virtual press conference.

“We need our top-5 batters to get runs. Also we need to understand that England seamers are very experienced. They know how to bowl in their conditions.”

Raj made a patient 72 off 108 balls to help India go past the 200-run mark after the early dismissals of openers Shafali Verma (15) and Smriti Mandhana (10). But her knock was not enough as Indian batters failed to rotate strike and find boundaries to accelerate scoring rate.

“Over the years we are far more comfortable chasing than posting targets. We need to work on that, we need to know how to get 250,” she said.

“But we just can’t go bang bang and lose wickets. We need to know when to push the acceleration and how to get that.”

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While addressing bowling, Mithali said the time has come for India women’s team to think beyond long-serving and over-worked Jhulan Goswami by grooming young pace bowlers for future. She said her side’s seam bowlers were not up to the mark.

“It puts pressure (on the opposition) if we can get early wickets. If we don’t get wickets from the seamers it puts pressure on the spinners.

“So we need to groom fast bowlers other than Jhulan. They should learn how to understand conditions and bowl well accordingly,” she added.

Mithali hints at a few changes in the playing eleven. 

Hinting that there might be a few changes in the composition of the playing eleven in the second ODI, Raj said the team management also needs to back the players side by side.

“It is important to back players, especially those who have done well in the past. Sometimes it is a gamble to play stroke players. But we need to back players to groom them keeping the World Cup in mind.”

“Apart from the captain, coach and support staff, the selectors also play a big part in that and we are in constant touch with them,” she said.

“We will definitely look into the composition, a little bit of shuffling in the batting order to get over the line.”

The skipper who is at the twilight of her career has also said that it’s her duty to groom players for the future.

“I have got most of my runs in the No. 3 slot but it is important to get batters in that slot. We need to have batters who can score runs. I am not going to play for long so it is my duty to groom players,” Mithali said about her decision to drop down the order at No. 4 from her preferred No. 3 slot.

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