Durham, Sep 10 (IANS) India captain Harmanpreet Kaur refused to take England lightly, calling them “a very good side”, despite them missing all-rounder Nat Sciver ahead of the start of the T20I series at the Riverside Ground in Durham on Saturday.
On Thursday, Nat, who was named stand-in skipper for the series against India with regular captain Heather Knight ruled out due to hip injury which needed surgery, announced that she won’t be taking part in the series due to well-being reasons.
With no Heather, Nat and veteran seamer Katherine Brunt rested, leadership responsibilities now lie on wicketkeeper-batter Amy Jones and talented youngsters like Issy Wong, Alice Capsey, Freya Kemp, Lauren Bell and Sophia Dunkley.
“I know England will be missing her (Nat Sciver), but I think they are still a very good side. We still need to play well to defeat them. The last 10 days, it has given us enough time to prepare ourselves and we are looking in good shape. It’s now just the time to go there and execute the plans.
“Whoever is playing, it is very important to stay in the moment and take the right decisions and take calculated risks. Those things will matter rather than who’s playing against you. If you play good cricket, you will definitely get good results,” said Harmanpreet ahead of first T20I.
While indicating about flexibility in batting order during the T20I series, Harmanpreet revealed batter Jemimah Rodrigues will be unavailable for Saturday’s match as she is still undergoing rehabilitation for hand injury at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), Bengaluru.
“Jemi (Jemimah) is still at the NCA, she is getting well. Once we have information about her and she is going about the series, we will update you accordingly. In the T20 format, we discuss our batting order, but we have to be flexible in it depending on who’s bowling. You need to see who can handle the bowlers well and get the runs for us. Batting wise, we will to be flexible according to the situation and the team’s run-rate, we will take the calls.”
Having defeated England in the semifinals of the inaugural women’s T20 event at Birmingham Commonwealth Games last month, Harmanpreet is confident that her side will put up a good show against the hosts, especially with the Women’s T20 World Cup happening next year in South Africa.
“We have done really well in the Commonwealth Games, but now again, it’s a new start for us. We are going to play all the games against England and they have always done well against us. For us, it will be very challenging. I know the Commonwealth Games has given us a lot of confidence as a team and played good cricket in patches.”
“But again, it’s now a new start and we have to start from the beginning. We all are looking in good shape and this tournament (series) will give us a lot of confidence ahead of the (T20) World Cup (next year in South Africa).”