Women’s World Cup: Eduljee wants ‘bold steps’ for better outcome
Former captain Diana Eduljee wants “bold” steps to be taken on an immediate basis if India Women are to go the distance in the upcoming World Cup, which will be held in New Zealand from March 4.
After losing the one-off T20I in their ongoing New Zealand tour, the Indians conceded the ODI series too as they lost the first three of the five matches. What’s even more worrying is the Mithali Raj-led side’s inability to defend totals of 270 and 279 in the second and third ODIs, respectively.
In both these games, India choked at the latter stages. The New Zealand Women reached their target with three wickets in hand and an over to spare in the second ODI. And on Friday in Queenstown, the White Ferns overhauled India’s total with again three wickets in hand and five balls remaining.
“If you are not performing, bold steps have to be taken now as you need to concentrate on the World Cup. It’s not fair to lose matches from winning positions,” Eduljee, a former member of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators that ran the BCCI till October 2019, told The Telegraph from Mumbai.
Courtesy Jhulan Goswami’s (3/47) excellent opening spell, New Zealand were 171/6 in the 35th over after India were 279 all out in 49.3 overs. Yet, India couldn’t pull it off.
“It’s up to the other bowlers to follow up Jhulan’s good work. Make the opposition play dot balls if you can’t get them out,” Eduljee, who represented India in 20 Tests and 34 ODIs, said.
“Also, you can’t go in with five bowlers. You have to have a sixth batter because someone or the other (among the bowlers) will have an off day. You can utilise Pooja Vastrakar (right-arm quick) as an all-rounder and give her a long run.”
Harmanpreet Kaur’s form has been a major concern for the team as she totalled a paltry 45 so far on the tour. Eduljee feels if the team management persists with Harmanpreet, she has to bat at No.3 then.
“Problem will arise when Smriti Mandhana (who was down with Covid-19) returns. I’m sure she’ll be coming back in the next game. So will it be fair to drop one of these players (like openers S. Meghana and Shafali Verma) who have been performing?
“It has to be either Harmanpreet going out if she is not performing or else, you have to take a call on pushing her up to No.3, which is her actual batting position.”
Brief scores: India Women 279 in 49.3 overs (D. Sharma 69 n.o., S. Meghana 61; R. Mair 2/43). New Zealand Women 280/7 in 49.1 overs (A. Kerr 67, L. Down 64 n.o.; J. Goswami 3/47). New Zealand Women won by 3 wickets.