India’s women’s national team tries to get rid of rust in Bangladesh

In an era when most male cricketers live out of their suitcases because of relentless schedules, members of the Indian women’s team had plenty of time to think and work on their game.

The last competitive event for the Indian players was the inaugural Women’s Premier League in March.

India, with all its resources at its disposal, has not been able to take its game to the next level and match up with mighty Australia on a regular basis.

The team needs to improve on various aspects, including fitness, bowling and lack of finishers, which are very important in the shortest format.

The team’s star players over the past 12 months — pacer Renuka Thakur and wicketkeeper Rich Ghosh — are out due to injuries and fitness issues respectively, giving the newcomers a chance to impress.

The experienced Dipti Sharma will have to play the role of finisher in Ghosh’s absence, and Puja Vastrakar and Amanjot should also contribute with quick strikeouts in the late innings.

Yastika Bhaita and the uncapped Uma Chhetri are the team’s two wicket-keeper options. Yastika is expected to start Sunday’s game, and she needs to bat much faster than her current strikeout rate of 85.38.

Bangladesh should not give India much trouble, but the pressure will be on opener Shafali Verma, who has often found himself unable to handle the short ball since his arrival.This series will also be a return for paceman Monica Patel, and Meghna Singh will look to cement her place in the team after she spent most of last season on the bench.

Nooshin Al Khadir, who led the Indian U-19 national team to the world title and, more recently, the U-23 national team in Hong Kong, has been appointed interim coach for the tour, while Amol Muzumdar’s appointment for the permanent job has yet to be formalized.

The players trained at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru before leaving for Bangladesh. All games will be played at the Shere Bangla National Stadium.

Bangladesh is a very good team, they always play good cricket at home. We are ready for this test. We have had two three days to prepare and we feel ready in all aspects, Harmanpreet said on the eve of the game.

Bangladesh: Nigar Sultana (c/wk), Nahida Akter, Dilara Akter, Shati Ranand, Shamima Sultana, Sobhana Mostari, Murshida Khatun, Shorna Akter, Ritu Moni, Disha Biswas, Marufa Akter, Sanjida Akter Megla, Rabeya Khan, Sultana Khatun, Salma Khatun, Fahima Khatun.

India: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Dipti Sharma, Shafali Verma, Jemima Rodrigues, Yastika Bhatia (vc), Harlin Deol, Devika Vaidya, Uma Chhetri (vc), Amanjot Kaur, S. Meghana, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Anjali Sarvani, Monica Patel, Rashi Kanojiya, Anusha Bareddy, Minnu Mani.

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