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Women's Asia Cup 2022: India coach Ramesh Powar defends batting-order reshuffle

By Pti

Sylhet, October 7: Indian women's team head coach Ramesh Powar is hardly perturbed by the 13-run defeat against Pakistan in the Asia Cup as the team management's primary aim was to test the temperament of the younger lot in a pressure situation.

Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur returned against Pakistan but only to bat at No. 7 as India's new-look middle order faltered in its chase of a modest 138 and suffered a 13-run loss against their arch-rivals here on Friday (October 7).

"It's not a setback... We were not thinking on those lines. We were facing an issue, which needed to be addressed," Powar said at the post-match media interaction.

After three wins in a row that gave them the pole position in the standings, India wanted to test their new look middle-order in a pressure match against Pakistan, the head coach revealed.

"It was a thing that was planned earlier that after three games we wanted to try some young ones who can take up that role. We wanted to expose (Dayalan) Hemalatha, Pooja (Vastrakar), Richa (Ghosh) and Radha (Yadav) who are young. The purpose was to send them up and make them feel the pressure."

"They need to go through these pressure situations because Smriti (Mandhana), Jemimah (Rodrigues) and Harmanpreet have been doing it for a long time. We wanted to fill this gap before the World Cup. We wanted to do it in the Asia Cup as we do not have many games ahead of the World Cup - just five games against Australia," the former India off-spinner said.

India will open their Women's T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan at Cape Town on February 12. India find themselves in Group 2 with England, West Indies, Pakistan and Ireland.

Group 1 has five-time winners and reigning champions Australia along with New Zealand, hosts South Africa, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Top two teams from each group will make the semi-finals.

Powar said they wanted to build a team for all conditions and they thought it was the perfect opportunity to test their youngsters in the match against Pakistan.

"We have been playing for a long time now and most (of the players) in the team have played enough cricket to understand the importance of an India-Pakistan game. They also understand where we stand in the league phase and why we are doing this."

Since there are six round robin games, Powar felt that there was no harm in experimentation, even thought it was a high-stakes game against the arch-rivals.

"Six league games allow us to do that, we would not have tried this if teams were in groups. We want to build our team for all conditions, all pressure situations. Obviously, we want to win the game."

Asked if there was any added pressure on them, he said: "Not really, otherwise we would not have tried a different batting order.

"We (team management) thought that we need to get over this phase by (for a change) not trying the regular match winners. We have full confidence in them so we tried this (rookies). Otherwise, we would not have done this."

India will next be up against the reigning Asia Cup champions and home favourites Bangladesh on Saturday (October 8) and Powar said they will be back to their best playing XI.

"From now on, we will put our best foot forward and give our best. They are a good side and were the champions last time around. We try to look at them as a competitive unit. "But we also come back from a good season and we hope to carry that confidence and make sure we stay grounded and focus on our strengths," he signed off.

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Story first published: Friday, October 7, 2022, 20:17 [IST]
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