Nooshin Al Khadeer wants Indian bowlers to 'bowl consistently' in one area

Former India cricketer Nooshin Al Khadeer believes India women's team was 20 to 25 runs short in the first ODI against Australia.

File picture of Mithali Raj and Nooshin Al Khadeer.   -  V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Former India cricketer Nooshin Al Khadeer believes India was 20 to 25 runs short in the first One-Day International against Australia and said that the team needed three batters to score while the bowlers needed to pick early wickets.

After restricting India to 225/8 in 50 overs, the Australians romped home with nine wickets in hand and as many overs to spare, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

“We need to have two to three batters having a go and then the initial wickets to be taken. The Australians are a good side, we need to understand that such players give you one chance to capitalise. If we need to get Meg Lanning out or (Alyssa) Healy out, they’ll probably give you that first chance in the first 10 runs that they are scoring. We need to capitalise on that. Initial wickets, three batters scoring runs for us, I see as Indians doing well,” she said.

READ: Australia women's cricket team registers 25th successive ODI win

Both openers - Shafali Verma (8) and Smriti Mandhana (16) - fell in quick succession within the first six overs, putting pressure on the middle-order. However, Nooshin said that the batters shouldn’t be trying to adapt to a different game and should stick to their strengths and natural game.

“When we start trying to do something different, that is a problem. Any player walking in should be doing what they are good at,” she added.

India skipper Mithali Raj top-scored in the first ODI with 63 from 107 balls, putting on a 77-run partnership with Yastika Bhatia for the third wicket. Talking about Mithali’s slow strike rate, Nooshin said that her approach was justified considering the situation she walked into since the middle-order wasn’t contributing consistently.

Nooshin also expects more contributions with the bat from all-rounder Deepti Sharma and would like to see Sneh Rana in the number six spot in the team. Referring to wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh’s quickfire 32 off 29 balls that propelled India to 225, Nooshan said she would like to see her promoted at number 5 or six. “She has got some very powerful strokes straight, so it’s not that she is just a cross-batting player who comes in and hits,” she added.

Speaking about Jemimah Rodrigues exclusion from the team, Nooshan said that since the right- hander has always been considered an opener, asking her to play in the middle-order would be harsh. “As an opener you’re facing medium-pacers. And you walk in here (middle-order) and you're facing spinners. And if she doesn’t perform, she is being made to sit out,” she added.

Nooshin, who has picked 100 ODI wickets from 78 matches, said that the Indian bowlers needed to understand the importance of bowling stock balls and consistent lines.

“T20 is a format where you get just four overs to try your luck and then you start pushing in your variations quickly. In one-day cricket, if you keep bowling consistently in one area, it will make the batters look out. If we go through the Australian bowling, we saw Perry coming in and barging in those short deliveries to our batters. From Shafali to Mithali Raj, they have been bowling short. If this what is expected, they are bowling to a gameplan,” she said.

India has had a rough patch of late in international cricket, having lost its last two ODI bilateral series, and is currently ranked number four— behind Australia, England, and South Africa. Nooshin believes that the team needs to get its plans right and ensure players contribute collectively. “We as Indians are very skillful, I wouldn’t deny that. But I think we can have a better approach,” she added.

Watch the second ODI of India tour of Australia Women on 24th September 2021 at 10:40 am IST; Third ODI on 26th September 2021 at 5:35 am IST LIVE on SONY SIX channels.

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