Selection not in my control, I can only focus on my performances: Punam Raut on ODI snub

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Punam Raut bats for six-team WIPL

Punam Raut © Getty Images

Indian top-order batter Punam Raut has spoken out on her being left out of the ODI set-up in recent times. The veteran, who has been pivotal for the Indian team in the past few years, has expressed that the selection is not under her control and for now she is just focusing on her performance. She also said that she is waiting for her opportunity and wants to make a strong comeback to the side. 

The 32-year-old had begun 2021 with two fifties and a hundred against South Africa at home. But, in the following months, she was sidelined from the playing XI. She featured in one ODI during the England tour and sat on the benches during the ODI series in Australia in September. 

Raut said that Ramesh Powar taking over from WV Raman as the head coach has brought some tactical changes to the team, hinting that it could have played a part in her being away from the first eleven. 

"Every new coach has a different set of tactics and planning, so we need to work accordingly. It's a team game and everybody needs an opportunity to showcase their skill. So they were trying different combinations and that's okay. I always take things sportingly, love challenges and of course if I get an opportunity then only I can prove myself and I am waiting for that," Raut was quoted saying by IANS.

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With Raut being away from the ODI team, players like Jemimah Rodrigues, Yastika Bhatia and Shafali Verma have been given chances in the side. Raut did feature in the pink-ball Test in Australia, but her ODI return looks slightly unlikely at this point. She did get some scores during the Senior Women’s One-Day domestic tournament but wasn’t picked for the ongoing Senior Women’s One-Day Challenger Trophy.

"It's (selection) not under my control, team management decides who will feature in the playing XI. So, I can only focus on my performances, follow the process, feel confident about my ability and whenever I get an opportunity, I will give my 100 per cent for the team. That's how I approach things in life," she added.

That being said, her selection for the upcoming ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022, which starts in March in New Zealand hangs in balance. She was a key member of the squad which was the eventual runners-up during the last edition in England. As a matter of fact, she also scored 86 runs in the final. 

"I want to make a strong comeback and play match-winning knocks for the team. I am working on facing short-of-length deliveries. Though, I didn't get much opportunity to play many ODIs in Australia but during the Test match I got the basic idea of bouncy pitches in that part of the world," she said. 

In the past, Raut’s strike rate has been questioned and she has faced some criticism for it. However, she said that is something she has been working on. She also added that India’s five-match ODI series in New Zealand in February 2022 ahead of the mega event would be quite crucial for the side. 

"Trying to learn shots which will be productive on New Zealand pitches. I have also worked on my strike rate and it was visible during the South Africa series. It's a gradual process and as we play more international games, we get experience and improve our skills, though it's a different ball game altogether to practice in India and play in foreign conditions. So, the series against the White Ferns before the World Cup will be crucial," Raut said.