We are missing a bowling coach but our bowlers are taking charge, says Harmanpreet

India women’s captain Harmanpreet Kaur stressed on the fact that the team is missing a bowling coach after her side’s loss against Australia in the third T20I.

Published : Dec 15, 2022 13:30 IST , MUMBAI

Harmanpreet Kaur plays a shot during the third T20I between India women and Australia in Mumbai.
Harmanpreet Kaur plays a shot during the third T20I between India women and Australia in Mumbai. | Photo Credit: AFP

Harmanpreet Kaur plays a shot during the third T20I between India women and Australia in Mumbai. | Photo Credit: AFP

Every time Harmanpreet Kaur addresses India’s women’s team, she stresses on the fact that the players need to finish off games in crunch times - an area that has hurt them over the last couple of years.

Things were no different on Wednesday evening as Shafali Verma and captain Harmanpreet had forged a 73-run partnership in 54 balls for the third wicket during India’s 173-run chase against Australia in the third women’s T20I at the Brabourne Stadium.

With the two quality batters taking the Australian bowlers to the cleaners, there were hopes of a turnaround. But soon after Shafali’s departure, the home team choked as it lost Richa Ghosh and the captain in quick succession to go down by 21 runs. 

Interacting with the media shortly after the defeat, the India captain stressed on the fact that ‘too many dot balls’ hurt the team.

“Every time, it’s not about power-hitting. In the last game, if we analyse our game, we were trying to get 10-12 runs per over. Today also, we were getting boundaries, but at the same time, we played too many dot balls. That was the reason, we were not able to win this game,” Harmanpreet said.

“Otherwise, it is not always about power-hitting. You need to analyse your strength. Sometimes, it is about getting 10-12 runs per over and if you can plan your innings calculatedly, keeping those things in mind, that approach can help you win matches. Today, there were quite a few overs, where we had less than seven runs and those are the reasons why we could not chase the total.”

Chasing a tall total, India did not have the best of starts as it lost Smriti Mandhana early on. Failing to build on the momentum from the previous game, Smriti could just score a solitary run before falling to Darcie Brown, who returned to the playing XI after missing out on the first two games due to illness. 

But Harmanpreet and Shafali stitched a partnership, keeping India in the hunt. “After losing wickets early, when you can build on a partnership, it’s a positive for the team. Shafali is someone who always wants to go after the bowlers, so at that time, my job was to provide her with maximum strike as she was hitting well,” Harmanpreet said. 

“That clicked for us. Now, Shafali has that experience and she can play till the end. Had either me or Shafali been around till the end, and if the middle-order could have been more calculative, things would have been different. We lost three back-to-back wickets after Shafali’s dismissal and that was a turning point for us,” the captain said. 

‘Missing a Bowling Coach’

Bowling has been an area of concern in the series as all three games have had scores above 170. In the first game, India failed to defend 172, while conceding 187 and 172 in the second and third games respectively. 

Harmanpreet admitted that even though the team does not have a bowling coach, the players are taking charge. “I know we are missing a bowling coach but our bowlers are taking charge. They are participative in bowlers’ meetings. They have full responsibility and today [it was] all their plans and they were leading the way, I was just supporting them in the middle,” she said.

With the selectors looking beyond Shikha Pandey, Renuka Singh Thakur has been given the role of India’s pace spearhead. 

“Renuka has the experience because she has done well in the past six-seven months and has got good results. Whenever we set plans for pace bowlers she takes the lead and our video analysts give us a lot of information,” she said.

Failing to build on the momentum of the Super Over win, India will now be hoping to bounce back in the series when the two sides meet at the same venue on Saturday.

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