India Women’s Captain Harmanpreet Kaur ‘Keeping CWG Games in mind, this is important..’

Indian women’s team captain Harmanpreet Kaur on Thursday said she wants to give her top five batsmen a fair amount of play time ahead of the Commonwealth Games, which she described as “very important for all of us”.

The Commonwealth Games will be held in Birmingham from 28 July to 8 August.

The top-order batsman, the Indian captain, slipped to number six in the final ODI of the three-match series against Sri Lanka on Thursday, which her team won by 39 runs in a clean sweep.

“As a captain, I have always wanted to give opportunities to every batsman in this team. I have always scored a lot of runs as a top-order batsman.

“However, keeping in mind the Commonwealth Games, which is very important for all of us, it is equally important that our top five batsmen are getting a fair amount of play time before the event,” Harmanpreet said.

Despite some fine individual performances, Harmanpreet attributed the team effort to a 3-0 sweep in her first series as full-time ODI captain.

“This game was very important for us, like the last two matches of this series. In the past, we used to win two games but often take a casual approach in the last game, having already won the series.

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“We decided amongst ourselves that we would make an extra effort for this game and it was a sheer team effort. The result is for all to see,” Harmanpreet said in the post-match press conference.

Harmanpreet, who took over the ODI captaincy from the legendary Mithali Raj after retiring from international cricket, put on a solid all-round performance in the third and final game.

In the company of Pooja Vastrakar, the Indian captain dismissed the team after scoring 75 runs in 88 balls.

Harmanpreet heaped praise on Vastrakar, who also featured in the final game, scoring 56 off 65 balls and taking two crucial Sri Lankan wickets.

“Pooja has been performing continuously of late. His performance in this match has once again shown that he is capable of scoring some important runs for the team. The current batting order suits his skills and we can try to push him up the top order, but it depends on the circumstances,” he said.

The captain also indicated that the challenging conditions motivate him to perform better.

“Responsibilities allow me to perform better and that has always been the case. We have some experienced players in this team and they like to take responsibility. We have ticked all the right boxes as a team in this series, and as a captain nothing more can be expected from the players,” said Harmanpreet.

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