[India], Mar 7 (ANI): India stand-in captain Smriti Mandhana on Thursday urged domestic players to play “fearlessly” to bridge the gap between domestic and international cricket.
The left-handed opening batter’s comments came after India scored a modest 111 for eight against England in the second T20I, which they lost by five wickets to go 0-2 down in the three-match series. Earlier, in the opening game, India were restricted to 119 for six in chase of 160 set by England.
"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,” she said.
"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, and 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 does not mean careless. There is a thin line between fearless and careless. I think we need to play fearless," Mandhana said.
India are struggling in the shortest format. Earlier, they were handed a 0-3 whitewash in the backyard of New Zealand. In that series, India’s weak batting line-up was exposed and the depth in the middle was questioned.
On being asked how the domestic players could express themselves, Mandhana said: "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.”
"I think we need to leave that fear, including me. We need to just get off those fears 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 do not take a lot of singles. Definitely, we will be looking to work on reducing the dot-ball percentage, taking more singles and rotating the strike," she added.
Having lost the three-match T20I series, India will meet England for the third and final match to show character and play for pride on March 9 in Guwahati. (ANI)