‘Shafali Verma needs to work on her back foot to put Australia on backfoot’

Shafali Verma scored only 8 runs in the first ODI against Australia, which the visitors lost by nine wickets on Tuesday.

Young India opener Shafali Verma is a fabulous front-foot player but she needs to work on her back-foot to put pressure on the Australians, former India cricketer Nooshin-Al-Khadeer said on Wednesday.

Shafali could score only 8 runs in the first ODI, which the visitors lost by nine wickets against Australia on Tuesday.

“I think in the first ODI, we have seen that they (Australians) were bowling too short on her (Shafali) body. She needs to be adapt and get her back-foot shots quite well, because the Aussies have read her, she is a fabulous front-foot player and she can be destructive,” Khadeer said.

“But if Shafali can get on to her back-foot, I am sure that it is going to take Australia on a backfoot… she needs to be working on her back-foot now.”

Khadeer, a former right-handed batter and off-spinner, also backed ODI skipper Mithali Raj, who has often been criticised for her slow strike rate.

“I think it is very easy for us to sit back and judge that strike-rate is an issue, but as cricketers, do we realise what situation she has walked into bat,” Khadeer said at a virtual con-call when asked about the criticism of skipper Mithali Raj’s strike rate.

“I would want to put forward a question saying that is it okay for a batter to score 10 runs in 8 balls or a batter who is able to score 60-70 runs, okay in 100 balls she has taken and contribute those 60 runs, there is a difference in that.”

Raj, the world no 1 ODI batsman, had recorded her fifth consecutive fifty in the first ODI against Australia. She has also completed 20,000 career runs but yet she is often criticized for her slow strike rate.

“I understand strike rate is important, but we need to understand the situation of a batter waking in. Whether the situation is right to get a strike rate of 100-120 and what happens,” said Khadeer, who also played 78 ODIs, 5 Tests and 2 T20s.

The 40-year-old also pointed out the lack of contribution of the middle-order.

“Over a period of time, if we go through the statistics, we have seen our middle-order has not been contributing,” she said.

“So if we are going with a strike rate of 100 and we miss out on her innings, then there will be criticism that, she is not informed, not contributing, so where is the contribution of the middle order, we need to have people contributing.

“Otherwise, we will see India not even crossing 200 runs,” she quipped.

India will play two more ODIs, one day-night Test, and 3 T20Is during the series.

The second ODI of India’s Women’s tour of Australia will be aired on ‘Sony Six’ channels on September 24 from 10.40 AM IST and the third ODI will be aired on September 26 from 5.35 PM IST.

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