Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Feb 21: In the absence of injured Harmanpreet Kaur, Indian women’s ODI skipper Mithali Raj said depending on the situation she might change her batting order in the forthcoming home series against England, starting on Friday. Harmanpreet, who is one of the core players of the team, has been ruled out of the series due to an ankle injury.“Realising the situation of the game I might change my position. It depends on how we go in first game as it always sets the tone for the series. India Eves Look to Dominate England After Success in NZ.
As a middle order batter, I have been flexible enough to change my batting order in the absence of Harmanpreet,” Mithali said on the eve of series, which is slated to be hosted at the Wankhede Stadium, as part of the ICC Women’s Championship.The unavailability of Harmanpreet has given a chance to Harleen, who plays for Himachal Pradesh in the domestic circuit.“Definitely Harmanpreet gets a lot of experience into the squad but it can be used as an opportunity by the youngster [Harleen] who is coming in to step up and perform,” ODI skipper said.India are currently third on the table with 12 points from as many games. With the Blue Brigade unlikely to play Pakistan because of political issues, this series will be crucial to winning to avoid qualifiers ahead of the World Cup.
Mithali asserted that the series is crucial as points are at stake and the team aims to avoid qualifiers ahead of the 2021 World Cup, adding, “I definitely want the team to get a direct entry, so it is important to get as many points from the series.”“Last time we were short of three points and had to play the qualifiers. It has always been in our mind that we probably not play Pakistan that is why whatever matches we play against whoever we should be going in keeping in mind that we need those points,” she said.
With Wankhede’s pitch being spinner friendly, Mithali said considering the home conditions and slowness of the wicket, she is sure Indian bowling unit will thrive in the conditions and get the required breakthroughs.“Spin will be the main factor for all the matches and having the fast bowlers like Jhulan [Goswami] comes with a lot of experience she has done very well in New Zealand supported by Shikha Pandey and Mansi Joshi,” she said. In spite of having the likes of Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues, Mithali acknowledged that the team still lacks depth in the middle-order, however, is adamant to play positive cricket against the reigning World Champions England.“Jemimah and Smriti have given us a great start in the last series [against New Zealand] but we have not tested much of the middle order. Playing against formidable England side, which is one of the top teams in the world and the World Cup champions; they will come strong at us. I believe we should be play a well band of positive cricket,” she said.
The reigning World Cup champions England and the runner-ups India will begin their three-match ODI series at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Friday, followed by the second and third match on February 25 and 28 respectively.
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