Team needs support from fast bowlers, says Mithali Raj

Dubai [UAE]: Mithali Raj has stressed on the need for fast bowling all-rounders in the Indian team, especially in conditions that do not support spinners following the defeat in the final ICC Women’s Championship ODI against New Zealand by eight wickets in Hamilton.

India won the three-match series by an unassailable 2-1. However, Mithali said when spinners are getting hit; the team needs a little more support from the fast bowlers.

“Jhulan [Goswami] is experienced but we need to have maybe an all-rounder in the XI, who can be useful on these tracks when you know that the spinners are not doing (well). The all-rounder can step in. It is a choice, but we definitely need to work on these areas,” ICC quoted Mithali, as saying on Saturday.

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In the first two matches, the spinners comprising Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav and Deepti Sharma led the charge to win the series. Chasing the target, openers Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues helped India chase down 193 in the first game. While in the second, Mandhana and Mithali recovered India from 15/2 and chased down the target within 36 overs.

“The first game, the spinners dominated, and the opening pair has given us a great start. Chasing 170-odd runs and without losing the openers initially has definitely given us confidence. Getting into the second game also, the spinners continued to carry that momentum from the first game, though we had a collapse, the partnership between me and Smriti helped us. Overall, the Indian team has always banked on the spinners, and they have done well on this surface as well,” Mithali said.

In the third and final game, India collapsed and were bowled out 149 in 44 overs. Demanding more from the middle-order, Mithali said “the middle order definitely needs more outing”.

The match in Hamilton also marked the 200th ODI for the Indian captain as she became the first woman to reach the milestone. Mithali, who debuted in 1999 and scored an unbeaten 114, said she is “very happy to have represented the country for so long”.

“When you have a long career there are different elements that come into your reasoning and factors. But one thing that has always been there is to constantly thrive and work on my game, to suit different conditions and [work on] different areas of my game in trying to keep up with the international standard,” Mithali said.

India will next meet New Zealand for three-match T20I series, beginning on February 6 which will be played as double-headers with men’s matches.


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