After suffering a heavy eight-wicket loss to England in the first of three one-day internationals in Bristol on Sunday, India skipper Mithali Raj conceded that the team lacked intent all through.
“We lacked intent in all three departments. I could have had another player from the top five to stay there and get us runs. Our bowlers could have been more consistent with their lengths. Fielding could have been better,” Raj said at the post-match presentation.
Put in to bat, India managed only 201 for the loss of eight wickets, which saw an appalling 181 dot balls (30.1 overs). England chased the target without breaking into a sweat, with 15.1 overs to spare.
Speaking to reporters after the game, the 38-year-old identified aspects of the game the team will take back to the drawing board.
“We need to work on rotating the strike. We require another top order batter to get us the runs. We need to understand than English seamers are more experienced than the ones we have. They know how to bowl in their conditions and did well today. We have a lot to learn,” she said.
A 250-run mark was a base bar that was considered the par score on a Bristol pitch which heavily favoured the batters and Raj underlines strategy shortcomings for the batting failure in the first ODI.
“Over the years, we are far more comfortable chasing targets because we know how to up our run rate. But when it comes to setting a target we lose out. We can’t go bang bang and lose wickets and then struggle. As a batting unit, we need to sit down with the batting coach to figure out how we can get to that 250 mark if we are batting first, where to press the accelerator and how to get our innings together,” she added.
Raj identified an issue in the supply chain coming in from the Indian domestic circuit as a contributing factor for the side’s shortcomings with the bat.
“In our domestic competition, most batters who get chances are top order batters who go on to score heavily. So the ones in the Indian team are all top batters for different states. So we don’t really have finishers. We have to either find someone that way or groom someone who shows potential in that area. We have a few players in our mind. Are we willing to let someone go and groom someone or adapt an existing role? It’s a tough call and it’s on our mind.” Raj added.
The Indian bowling arsenal also struggled to get going. While the Bristol pitch was flat and suited for batting, most of the Indian attack struggled to find consistency in line and length.
“I think our seam bowling needs to improve. The others besides Jhulan Goswami should step up. These are conditions that favour seamers and they should be able to use this conditions well. If they don’t get wickets or control runs, it adds to the pressure on the spinners. We need to groom our fast bowling departments,” she said.
The points table as it stands
Raj’s partnership with Punam Raut, a 94-ball 52-run stand was identified as a factor that slowed the side’s innings building down. When asked if she wished to tweak her spot in the batting order, Raj believed number four was the right spot for her.
“I’ve got most of my runs in the number three slot, but it is important to have batters in the side. We can’t field all-rounders who pitch little here and there. We need batters who can score runs. If I go at number four, I am giving the team an opportunity because I am not going to be here forever. At four, I can stay and groom players. We need to rethink our batting order and shuffle around a bit,” she added.
India takes on England in the second ODI on June 30 (Wednesday).