Batting has to be up if we are aiming at World Cup: India women’s team coach Powar

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Skipper Mithali Raj was the lone bright spot in a lacklustre batting performance by the Indian women’s team as they lost the three-match ODI series against hosts England 1-2.

“I think bowlers brought us back into the game. We have to learn lot many things from this series. I think fielding improved immensely, bowling has improved immensely, batting has to be up if we are aiming at the World cup,” Powar said in a video posted by the BCCI on its twitter handle.

Mithali smashed three half-centuries in the three ODIs and became the highest run-getter in women’s cricket across formats while guiding India to a consolation four-wicket win over England in the third and final ODI here on Saturday.

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“I think she deserves every praising word out there,” Powar said of the India skipper, who made an unbeaten 75 off 86 balls in a successful chase of 220.

“She has been a fantastic servant of the game. 22 years of cricket and I think she is a role model for a lot of our girls. She has single-handedly won us the game. Chasing 220 on a low bounce track, she took us over the line.”

The 43-year-old from Mumbai was also impressed by Sneh Rana, who made a 22-ball 24 and took one wicket during the third ODI, having returned to the format after seven years.

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“Sneh Rana is a find of this series. The way she was bowling at Southampton in practice session, we thought we should give her a chance. It was a difficult decision to play two off-spinners but she played her role to the core,” Powar said.

Rana had also scored a half-century on her Test debut to help India draw the one-off match against England. “I am really happy for her, being an off-spinner I can see the talent, she is a player who can play in crunch situations and that’s what we needed right now, when the big tournaments or big series comes up, we need players of calibre who can take pressure,” Powar said.

Powar was also effusive in his praise for veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami. “I think Jhulan Goswami is one of the legends of women’s cricket and her ethics, preparations, commitment towards team, commitment towards dressing room and commitment towards young players, that makes a huge difference to us as a team.”

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India will next take on England in a three-match T20I series beginning at Northampton on Friday.

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