India Women's Harmanpreet Kaur bats against England during the One Day International cricket match at the The County Ground in Taunton, England. (PTI Photo)
Mount Maunganui: Star allrounder Harmanpreet Kaur's experience is vital to India's middle-order and it is good to see her back among runs just before the World Cup, said skipper Mithali Raj on Saturday.
The 32-year-old Harmanpreet, who has been battling a prolonge lean patch, slammed a 63 against New Zealand in the fifth ODI and followed it up with an equally elegant 104 against South Africa in one of the warm-up games to regain her form before the World Cup.
"Well it is important. She (Harmanpreet) is one of the core members of the side and her experience does matter in the middle," Raj said at the virtual press conference ahead of the team's lung-opener against arch-rivals Pakistan.
"She tends to play with the tail as well, because she comes in the middle-overs and with the game that she has, it is very important that she comes into form, because we are looking at scoring very high in the top-order. So, it is good to see her among runs just before the tournament."
Shafali Verma has not been among runs lately with just one fifty to show in the last few innings but Raj backed the young opener to come good in the world cup.
"I think getting into the World Cup, it is important that all of us have to get in with a clean-slate. From the past series or the warm up games, all we can take is confidence, and how you negotiate the conditions in the middle, how you play according to the situation is just very important," said Raj.
"So I'm sure that Shafali (Verma) being a very talented player she understands her own game and she will come good."
'Can't take Pakistan lightly'
Raj said Pakistan is a good side and her team won't take them lightly in their campaign opener.
"I think Pakistan is also a good side and I am sure they have prepared very hard for the tournament and so have we. Every team here, we can't take any team lightly. So we will get into playing every game with a lot of intensity and with a lot of confidence," she said.
"As a team, we are excited to get into the World Cup and starting our campaign tomorrow. We are not looking at it as Pakistan we are playing against, we are looking at a team, which has come prepared and we are equally prepared to put our best foot forward.
"We want to set a momentum going into the tournament and that is how we look at the tournament."
'Great to have Jhulan playing at World Cup'
The India skipper said the vast experience of veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami will help the team during the World Cup.
"We both (me and Jhulan) have been part of the dressing room for quite some time. we have enjoyed representing our country and have faced a lot of victories and defeats and I think it is just great to have her (Jhulan) when we are playing this World Cup," she said.
"And over the years she has been the front-line bowler for India and has delivered each time I have given her a ball. So her experience as a fast bowler will always be helpful to the team and to the young speedsters in the side getting into this World Cup."
'Looking to use Deepti Sharma as a pure all-rounder'
Raj also made it clear that the team management is looking to use Deepti Sharma as a pure all-rounder.
"She is an all-rounder in the side, very important link in the composition of the eleven and in couple of years we have not really used her as a batter at the top," the India skipper said.
"She has been exceptionally good with her off-spin, so this tournament, we are looking at using her as a pure all-rounder where she contributes up the order and with her bowling."
Prepared by watching New Zealand versus West Indies game
The lung-opener of the tournament between West Indies and New Zealand, played at the same venue, went down the wire with the former winning by three runs and Mithali said her team did take a few takeaways by watching the game.
I think to start with it was a great game and it went till the wire and we were all watching it on television and yes there have been few takeaways the conditions and the way the wicket behaved throughout the match and likewise we have prepared ourselves."