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‘Only Three Days of Practice Sessions’: Coach Ramesh Powar Blames Lack of Preparation Time For India Women Team’s Winless Run on New Zealand Tour

The Indian women’s team has lost all the four matches so far in its ongoing tour of New Zealand but coach Ramesh Powar is “not concerned at all” as he attributed the poor performance to lack of game time due to COVID-19 and quarantine-related issues.

India suffered an 18-run defeat in the lone T20I before losing the three ODIs on the trot to concede the five-match series to New Zealand. The visiting team has not won a match so far.

“We had only three days of practice sessions ahead of tour. You cannot get into a competitive series like against New Zealand in such less time. So, there will be some rustiness in the players’ approach,” Powar said at the post-match conference after India lost by three wickets in the third ODI here on Friday.

“There is no concern at all, I’m not concerned about anything. After Australia, we did not play any game as a team. We came straight to NZ. When you want to address few issues about batting, fielding and bowling, you need to play as a group before a series which did not happen.”

Powar admitted that batting has clicked on this tour but there has been “inconsistencies” in bowling department but expected that things will be sorted out before the World Cup starts next month.

“Batting has clicked. From England tour to where we are now. We have scored 270, 280. In Australia also, we have scored 260, 270 so batting unit has done its job,” said Powar, adding that opening batter Smriti Mandhana will be available from the next game after coming out of quarantine on Tuesday.

“It is now the bowling unit to get into rhythm. There were restrictions on doing practice, other limitations. So, I have to give (benefit of doubt) to the bowlers, they will come back hard when the World Cup begins.”

India put up 270-plus targets to New Zealand in the second and third ODIs but the bowlers failed to defend on both the occasions.

“We have missed our genuine fast bowlers, we just played with Jhulan, Simran, Renuka (and Pooja) because of unavailability,” he said.

“Now Meghana will be available (from next game). We can go a little ahead with our bowling which did well in Australia. Three seam bowlers in every game.”

India played with just two pacers in all the three ODIs so far.

Pacers Meghana Singh and Renuka Singh were in an extended quarantine, along with Mandhana. Renuka, who came out of quarantine earlier, played in the third ODI on Friday but Meghana and Mandhana missed again as they came out of MIQ only on Tuesday.

“There were inconsistencies, agreed. In bowling we are trying to address middle-over performance where we can pick up wickets because there were a couple of 100-run partnerships (by NZ). We are trying to break that chink.

“We want to take wickets in middle overs. They have tried their best but with limited practice and Covid situation and quarantine, I don’t blame my players for (lack of) consistency because they are short of practice, match simulation and proper matches, that is hurting us.”

Asked about vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur’s wretched form as she scored 10, 10 and 13 in the three ODIs, Powar said, “I will stick to my statement (in India) that it is up to Harman to get back to form because it is the player’s mind which works in pressure situations.

“We can create those (situations) in nets or otherwise. But it is up to that particular player to come out of that zone and do well.”

Powar said the management has been trying out different team combinations to deal with different situations which may arise against different opponents in the upcoming World Cup.

“We want to give game time to all the 18 players. In the whole four games, we tried different bowling attacks with the limitation of unavailability of fast bowlers,” he said.

“We are trying to get the bowlers in the zone when they can bowl anytime, during power play, middle overs or the death. We are trying to have a lot of combinations, there is no final combination yet.”

He said the idea was to have many match-winners in the team so that one or two can do the job on a particular day.

“In the World Cup you cannot just have one combination like five bowlers or six bowlers or may be six all-rounders in the team, every opponent is different. It will be match-by-match.”

“They have the skill-sets to face the pressure and they well rise against that pressure. They will do well in the Wold Cup.”

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