“We wanted to check a few other players who have come in like Yastika and Meghna (Singh). This is their first tour. So we wanted to see other players,” said Raj speaking to the press at the Great Barrier Reef Arena in Mackay on Monday.
“We know Harmanpreet (Kaur) and Jemimah (Rodrigues) have the experience of playing in Australia in the WBBL. It was just an opportunity for other players to get a feel of the environment here.”
Both Kaur and Rodrigues as well as Shikha Pandey missed the warm-up clash. Jhulan Goswami, Singh and Pooja Vastrakar were the seamers used in the game. India have plenty of options to choose their XIs for the first ODI, something which has pleased Raj.
“That is part of the captains’ worries when you have many players to pick from,” said the 38-year-old.
“It is good to have players who’ve been performing so that you know the bench is getting stronger. Tomorrow if something happens to a core player, you know there’s a replacement readily available.”
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One of the conundrums India have ahead of the ODIs is choosing between the incumbent wicket-keeper Taniya Bhatia and Ghosh. The latter was called up to the ODI side for the first time for the tour Down Under, thanks to her ability with the bat.
“We will see how we can give opportunity to Taniya Bhatia as well as Richa Ghosh because as a team it is important to also give opportunities to players before the World Cup,” said Raj. “This is an important series in the run up the World Cup and we want to see the girls get enough time before that.”
While the hot climate in Mackay make it seem closer to home for India, Raj said that playing Australia is a challenge in itself and the team is up for it.
“We are excited because we know that this is a tough series against Australia, undoubtedly against one of the tough sides in the world. It’s the best preparation we can ask for ahead of the World Cup.”
“But we know the challenges of playing against the best side and you have to get the top game every time,” she concluded.