India's Harmanpreet Kaur plays a shot during the 2022 Women's Cricket World Cup match between New Zealand and India at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Thursday. (Photo: AFP)
New Delhi: Former captains Diana Edulji and Shantha Rangaswamy feel the Indian women's cricket team can't afford to "blow hot and cold" in a big event like the ongoing World Cup and called for consistency in the batting department.
India have two wins and as many losses to their name in the World Cup and after the defeat against England, they face the mighty Australians on Saturday.
Edulji feels too many changes are being made in the batting order. Deepti Sharma batted at three in the first two games before skipper Mithali Raj replaced her in that position against West Indies and England.
Mithali, who has been the team's most consistent batter over the last 12 months, is yet to fire in the tournament while Harmanpreet has roared back to form after a prolonged lean patch that saw her getting dropped from the bilateral series against New Zealand before the World Cup.
Edulji, who had called for Harmanpreet's exclusion from the playing eleven last month, is happy that she was proved wrong by the senior batter who has hit a hundred and 50 batting at four in the ICC event so far.
Edulji wants Harmanpreet, who has been batting at five, and opener Smriti Mandhana to get maximum time in the middle.
"When they (Harman and Smriti) are in form and have confidence between themselves, let them play as many overs as they can. They complement each other and they run well between the wickets. Opening pair (Smriti and Yastika) is fine as Shafali doesn't seem to be in form.
"Harmanpreet can bat at three if you want left-hand right-hand combination, followed by Deepti, and Mithali can control the innings at five if there is a top-order collapse.
"Too many changes are being made at the moment. Let the players know they are going to bat at this number, tell them they are safe at that number. Harman has to bat higher now that she is in form.
"You can always be flexible in the last 20 overs with the likes of Richa and Pooja being promoted but your top four needs to be stable," Edulji told PTI.
England, who had lost all three games prior to Wednesday, bundled out India for 134 after scoring 317 against the West Indies.
"You can't blow hot and cold like that," Edulji added.
Rangaswamy too called for consistency from the batters but doesn't want to change the order for the game against Australia. Last year, India had ended Australia's 26-match winning streak though they lost the closely contested away series 1-2.
"Both Mithali and Deepti were among runs earlier but they have not clicked in the tournament so far. Hopefully, these two, especially Mithali fires against Australia as she is the fulcrum of India's batting.
"With Smriti at the top and Harman returning to form, it is a good sign for India. Our bowlers have done well throughout the World Cup. They will overcome a major psychological barrier if they can beat Australia," said Rangaswamy.
"I don't see any changes in the batting order. Mithali has batted at three for the major part of her long career. I am confident that she will be back among the runs. Harman, at number five, is ideal, the team should not not risk her against the moving ball.
"When she gets going, she is unstoppable. Really happy to see her back among the runs. She was dropped from one of the games and that fired her up. Everyone needs a jolt at some point in their career."
Rangaswamy added that leg-spinner Poonam Yadav can be tried against South Africa and Bangladesh but not Australia as they have "found her out".