When we play to our strengths, we can beat any team in the world: Shikha Pandey
Although India have lost the ODI series, fast bowler Shikha Pandey has said that the team is still confident about making a comeback in the ongoing multi-format series against England.
Speaking to the media ahead of the final ODI, Pandey said that the Indian team competed well in the second ODI, adding, “considering this is a multi-format series, we know if we win all four games (final ODI and three T20Is), we can still win it.”
“It is just about backing ourselves. We know we are a very good team, and when we play to our strengths, we have a good day and can beat any team in the world. We are just backing ourselves and looking forward to the next game and not thinking much about what has happened,” she said in the press conference on Friday (July 2).
Despite the result not going their way in the second ODI, there were moments of brilliance from the Indian unit, particularly from the fast bowlers – Jhulan Goswami and Pandey – and wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia. Her glovework behind the stumps, especially while standing up to the pacers, received appreciation from everyone, including her teammate.
Acknowledging that she is a fan of Bhatia, Pandey said that the wicket-keeper’s performance played a significant role in the wicket of Lauren Winfield-Hill and Tammy Beaumont. “I think the first wicket we got (Tammy Beaumont’s wicket), Taniya standing up to the stumps made a huge difference.”
She said that her swing was getting negated as the England batters were standing ‘way too outside the crease’, and to counter that, they had to bring Bhatia up to the stumps. “There are pretty practical decisions being taken on the ground that we need to get them to play from the crease, and that’s how Taniya comes in.”
“The kind of keeping, standing up to the stumps to medium pacers is not an easy job. The way she stood up to us, even with the new ball, is amazing. You can count on your fingers the number of keepers that can do that in international cricket.”
Pandey also applauded the head coach – Ramesh Powar – for backing the players and keeping the dressing room environment positive. “He has always said if we play to our potential, to what our strengths are, we can beat any team in the world. He has got full confidence in us and backs us as a group. As a coach, he has been very helpful in all three departments.”
When asked about the lack of runs from Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana, Pandey backed them to come good sooner than later. “They are world-class batters. It is just one innings they need to get under their belt. Probably in the next game itself, they will be back and help the team win.”
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In the second ODI, Sophia Dunkley and Katherine Brunt steered England home despite losing wickets in the middle overs. India, on the other hand, went from 178 for seven to 192 for nine. The middle-order and lower middle-order has not contributed with the bat in the ODI series. Panday said that she is supposed to contribute with the bat as a bowling allrounder.
“Every time I get onto the field, the aim is to contribute to the team’s success in whichever way I can.”
“There are goals being set, but at a very short-term basis. So, it’s just the game tomorrow and bowl well. In case I get to bat, probably score better and contribute a lot more with the bat,” she concluded.