India Head Coach WV Raman. ©BCCI

India lost the last match of the series to England by one run to register a 3-0 T20I whitewash. WV Raman, India women’s head coach, addressed the media queries after second consecutive T20I whitewash since his appointment as head coach.

When asked about having a mental-conditioning coach in the support staff would enable India to hold their nerves in difficult matches Raman said, “Basically, first they need to work a lot on their skills.”

“Once the development in terms of skills happens, then all other things come into play because tactically everybody is aware of what needs to be done, but tactics cannot be executed unless the technical base is good enough,” he added.

Mithali Raj scored 30-ball 32 including four boundaries but couldn’t face a single ball with 3 runs needed off the last over in the last over as she remained stranded on the non-striker’s end.

“We had a chat about what is she comfortable doing and what suits the side as well,” Raman said of Raj’s batting position.

“Since Harman was not here, we needed someone with experience in the middle order. That’s the reason she stuck to her slot of four. Quite obviously, she also needs to be backed up by others. Unfortunately, that kind of support didn’t come. It’s all a case of what a specific player can bring to the table and how it suits the team’s needs. That’s how things will happen,” he added.

Raman spoke if India Premier League (IPL) can be the solution, “There again, playing matches [in a domestic T20 league involving overseas players] is one part of the equation. The other part of the equation is that the student taking an exam. Extremely well prepared, he is hoping to walk into the exam hall absolutely confident. But equate it to the skills part of it, if they are really good they develop the skills then it doesn’t really matter.”

“As of now, I would rather concentrate on developing the skill. We do have quite a few plans in place and hopefully, over the next few months a lot of things towards development can happen.”

Raman rejected the suggestion of having match situations in the nets can prove to be good for the team, he emphasised that the thin resources available at their disposal from the domestic pool of talent are not adequate to form A sides.

“[I] welcome the suggestions as to how to simulate pressure situations,” Raman said. “It is well and good to have ideas. But the point is where does it meet the practicality of things? That’s where we need to concentrate on. What is the kind of talent pool you have to have an A side, Under-23 side? We need to look at all those things.”

“So it might be the case of same players more or less playing in all the teams. There again, as much as we can think a lot of ways of making them play under different situations, against different oppositions. We need to first prepare them.”

Although this has been registered to be India’s longest ever losing streak in T20I since the defeat against England in the World T20 semi-final, according to Raman, there are still positives out of it.

“They have been playing good cricket,” Raman said, “but in T20 what you need is smart cricket under pressure. This is a young side, will learn along the way. Even though the scoreline says 3-0, not playing as well as we could, yet it was not a total washout in terms of the way we lost it. That’s heartening.”

“Overall, the bowlers have done a fantastic job [in the ODI and T20I series combined]. Spinners and even the fast bowlers in the ODIs, not that the fast bowlers were bad here, except one phase here and there,” he added.

“Then the girls have fielded really well. It’s just that the newcomers getting a little bit of experience to know what to do under a little bit of pressure and challenge. Once that improves, I think it will be a very good situation for us in the future. So I’m not totally either sulking or mourning about it. From here on, the only way is up. That’s the way I’d look at it,” Raman concluded.

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