Fast bowlers pool, dot-ball conversion areas to work on ahead of World Cup, says Ramesh Powar

Ramesh Powar with Indian players. © Getty Images

Ramesh Powar has identified two key areas for India to work on as they move towards the Women’s World Cup early next year – creating a pool of fast bowlers to choose from and converting the dot balls in the middle overs into runs. India toured England with Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy and Simran Dil Bahadur as their seam-bowling options out of which Dil Bahadur didn’t get a game. While Pandey returned five wickets through the three formats, Goswami picked up four in the Test and ODIs combined.

“We’ve learnt a lot on this tour. (In the) fast bowling department, only Jhulan performed,” said Powar after the final T20I on Wednesday (July 14).

“There has to be some support for her. We’re looking to enhance our fast bowling department.”

“I we are going to get a camp after this tour, we’re going to add fast bowlers and will start working on them. We have seven months, so we have got to create a pool of fast bowlers. Already we have five in the team, we are looking at five more.”

“The time is short, we’ll try and get something out of it. The way forward is to include fast bowlers on domestic performances and we’re looking at tall fast bowlers. The girls who perform as fast bowlers will be included in the camps. We are looking to create a pool of at least ten-fifteen fast bowlers.”

India went down 6-10 in the multi-format series against England after their eight-wicket loss in the third T20I. They could have tied the series and won the T20Is had they won the clash in Chelmsford. Earlier, they had also lost the ODI series 2-1 after drawing the one-off Test in Bristol.

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Only Mithali Raj scored consistently for India in the fifty-over series and Powar said that there needs to be more support for the Indian Test and ODI captain. Raj scored 206 runs in the ODIs, including three half centuries, at an average of 103 and became the leading run-scorer in internationals in the process. He identified that either the current players need to be moulded to bat in a different way or get in new middle-order batters from the domestic circuit to meet the team’s needs.

“Either we have to mould the available players in the squad or we have to draft in other middle order players where they can up the ante,” said Powar, who is in his second stint as the Head Coach of India.

“We have tried with the moulding thing. If we have good middle order batters in India in domestic cricket, (we will get them in). We have to find a way to get up to 250 consistently till the World Cup.”

“Going forward we might try something new by bringing new players, or trying to mould them. It is up to all the stakeholders – the selectors, captain, vice-captain will discuss these and decide.”

Powar also wanted the team to be fearless in their approach especially with the bat, something that was evident in the second and the third T20Is. In the second game in Hove, India managed to score 46 runs in the last five overs while in Chelmsford, they were 58 for two in ten overs and added 95 runs in the last ten.

“We will play fearless cricket,” asserted Powar. “You can’t force them as a coach in the first series. They’ve been playing with a different ideology for the last two-three years. So I have to assess what exactly suits them. I can’t make a drastic approach change suddenly.”

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In the Test match in Bristol, which kick-started the tour, India were asked to follow on after a middle order collapse. But India then came back strong to earn a fighting draw, which left Powar pleased. He said that things could have been different had there been a fifth day in the Test match.

“After the follow on also we told them that we still can win this game,” said Powar. “If there would have been a fifth day, you never know. I was not surprised with the Sneh Rana batted the way Deepti batted… Deepti is a classical Test player, if you look at her batting.”

“We had a week in Southampton, where we practised with red ball. But experience matters, when we play red ball cricket. When you play red ball cricket regularly, you know what is happening for four days. There will be situations where you have to slow it down, take chances and bowl one side of the wicket. So it comes with experience.”

“We tried as support staff to give them that since we have played a bit of FC and Test cricket. We tried to share that with them. We’ll request some side games next time,” he concluded.

India’s next series is the tour to Australia, which also has a pink-ball Test match. Before that, five Indian players will be involved in The Hundred, too.