Despite pink-ball Test hype, focus on ODI series in Australia: Powar

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Mumbai, Aug 29 (IANS) Indian women’s cricket team coach Ramesh Powar has said that despite the hype being built around the one-off pink-ball Test against Australia at the Gabba beginning September 30, the team’s main focus would be on the three-match ODI series keeping in mind the 2022 World Cup in March next year.

Indian women will commence their Australia tour with a three-match ODI series beginning September 19, which will be followed by the historic pink-ball Test followed by three T20Is.

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“See, we’ve got three ODIs first and then we’ve got a World Cup which is a very important tournament for us. We’re focusing right now on the World Cup preparation,” Powar was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo on Saturday.

“If you see, it’s only a one-off Test match. I think it’s about confidence. If we can carry our one-day confidence into the Test match — especially given the way we made a comeback in the last game [in England] without our star players getting their rhythm — I’m very happy and I’d say I am very confident that the pink-ball Test we don’t need to prepare extra for. At the end of the day, it’s only a game between the bat and ball. We don’t want to put pressure on the team where we have to prepare differently for every format. We back our players in that particular format and they are good enough to react to situations. We did try to inculcate how we should approach every format.”

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Powar said that the 15-day conditioning camp at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru was an exercise in match simulations and team binding, adding that the focus was also on finding reserves capable of sharing pace bowler Jhulan Goswami’s burden.

“See, we have to have support for Jhulan Goswami. She has been consistent over a period of time and we need to find her a partner who can bowl with her in partnerships so that we can get the results that we seek. So, not just Meghana (Singh), we’re also looking forward to all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar’s skill set in Australia. Every player selected in this team has the skill set to do it, so we don’t want to get into why someone’s picked or dropped,” said Powar.

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Powar conceded that a lack of a bowling partner for Jhulan was making her a bit “defensive”.

“As far as fast bowling is concerned, we’re looking for consistency at the other end so that Jhulan has the freedom to express herself. Because of the lack of bowling partnerships, she tends to get a little defensive which we don’t want as a team. And she will come out differently this time because we will give her that [support at the other end].”

–IANS

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