Speaking to media at an event in Rajkot, Shah backed the duo’s leadership skills while expressing confidence in the Indian team to lift the T20 World Cup, to be jointly staged by the West Indies and the US.
India captain Harmanpreet Kaur praised the bowlers for their bowling in the first 10 overs while underlining the importance of working on death bowling after the loss to Australia in the 5th T20I.
The captain said that the team knows the shortcoming of bowlers in the last 10 overs and will work on it during the one-month break that the team will get before heading into the T20 World Cup in February. “We are not giving them easy runs in the first 10 overs but after the 10th over things are changing. We were also thinking about these things. We planned a lot of things but were not able to execute them. We will work on it to get results. We will analyse who can bowl for us after the 10th over and in the death overs. We earlier wanted to work on our first 6 overs and are getting results but we need to analyze our death bowling. It is difficult to do it during the course of a series. We have a one-month off now and we can plan on how we can stop the flow of runs in the last 10 overs by bowling in the right areas,” said Harmanpreet.
She expressed that the team is looking to create a strong pace battery before heading into the T20 World Cup and is looking at different players as backups to draft into the team.
“Seam is going to play a key role in coming matches. Sometimes expected performances cannot be delivered by players. Pooja will fill in the 3rd-4th seamer role but we were also looking at other seam options as the World Cup is in South Africa where pacers are more relevant and we want to have a solid pace lineup heading into the World Cup.
The Indian team bowled superbly in the initial 10 overs in the five-match T20I series but failed to stop the flow of runs in death overs.
Evaluating the team’s positives in the series, Harmanpreet said, “As a team, we had our belief that we will play our best and play positively. Especially in the batting, everyone was positive and looking to score. First 10 overs we have been really good and we can carry that forward, we need to work on our bowling in the death overs which we will do in the one-month break that we are getting.”
The captain also shared leadership tips for youngster Shafali Verma who will lead the India U19 team in the World Cup in January.
“I saw the way she was leading in domestic cricket. She is brilliant doing that, she knows what she is doing. The only advice that I want to give her is that she should just play freely and enjoy the game. They know their role and that makes the job of the captain easy. The captain can just go and tell what is expected of them and whenever she joins the team she should talk to the players. It’s important to go out and perform because if you do that everything is much easier for the team then,” said Harmanpreet.
Summing up her cricket for the year, she said, “2021 was something that I learnt a lot from. This year I wanted to convert the chances when I got the start and stay there for the team. When I am doing well the team and the people coming in to bat are positive which boosts my confidence. Thanks to all the teammates, support staff and selectors for providing me with what I need.”
She also spoke about the team’s batting order and mentioned that they are looking to create a flexible batting lineup. Talking about not including Jemimah Rodrigues in the final T20I she said that she was given a break and Harleen Deol was given an opportunity to bat at number three.
“Harleen is someone who is ready for batting at any position, very positive. Unfortunately, that miscommunication happened between her and me due to which she missed out. Jemmy was given a break as she is very important to us. Going forward that we keep her in a good frame. I feel that if the batting is flexible it helps the team. Harleen was getting momentum and we wanted to see how she fares at number three it was good to see her be positive,” she stated.
India had put Australia to bat after winning the toss. At the end of 10 overs, Australia were four wickets down at 72 runs, but Gardner (66*) and Harris (64*) unleashed carnage in the final 10 overs, scoring 124 runs in the second half of their innings.
Anjali, Deepti Sharma, Shafali Verma, Devika Vaidya took one wicket each.
Chasing 197, India lost wickets at regular intervals and did not look like a threat at all. Deepti Sharma (53) and Harleen Deol (24) were the only batters who stood out.
Heather Graham (4/8) was the pick of bowlers for Australia. Ashleigh Gardner took two, while Tahlia McGrath, Annabel Sutherland and Darcie Brown took one wicket each.
Australia won the series 4-1.
Brief Scores: India 142 (Deepti Sharma 53, Harleen Deol 24, Heather Graham 4/8) lost to Australia: 196/4 (Ashleigh Gardner 66*, Grace Harris 64*, Devika Vaidya 1/26).