Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues. ©BCCI

England clinched away the series from India by 2-0 after registering a 5 wicket win in the 2nd T20I. India’s captain Smriti Mandhana told that she thinks India’s major struggle in the T20I batting lies due to the gap in the domestic and international level.

She said, “I think if you look at it, the batters we get in domestic [circuit], they face very different bowling and fielding attack to international cricket.”

“There is a huge gap between international and domestic cricket. That gap needs to be lessened. Our domestic circuit needs to step up. There should be a bit of fearlessness in the domestic circuit because if you start playing fearless cricket in domestic, that is the only way you are going to play the same way in international cricket,” said Mandhana.

“If you look at our domestic scores in T20s, it is generally around 110-120. I think we all need to go back, step up our domestic circuit, take those scores to 140-150. If that is happening then all the batters will come with the same mindset of playing a fearless brand of cricket. Fearless doesn’t mean careless. There is a thin line between fearless and careless. I think we need to play fearless,” she added.

“We have spoken to all the batters, [Coach WV] Raman sir has spoken to them. Even me, Mithu di (Mithali Raj) and Harry di (Harmanpreet) have spoken to all the domestic batters regarding how the approach should be. We are definitely working on it. It is going to take some time because still, our batters have the fear of getting out,” she said.

Indian batting has been struggling throughout the start of the year. During the recent New Zealand series, the team has shown a lot of dependency on Mandhana and middle order hasn’t been performing at all.

“I think we need to leave that fear, including me. We need to just get off those fear and select the areas [to hit]. Our batters are not going out there and selecting the areas in terms of which balls to hit. I think another major difference between other teams and our team is running between the wickets. We either play a dot ball or boundary. We don’t take lot a of singles. Definitely, we will be looking to work on reducing the dot-ball percentage, taking more singles and rotating the strike.”

Even without the support of batters, Indian bowlers have been performing well. On which Mandhana said, “I think all the bowlers, including Shikha, did well with the spinners. They did a really good job. What was asked from them, they delivered. I think our batters need to step up and give a good total for our bowlers to defend.”

India will play England in the final T20I in Guahwati on March 9. India will look to retain their form and avoid a whitewash yet again.

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