Senior India player Harmanpreet Kaur, who has battled a prolonged rough patch, feels her 171 against Australia in the 2017 World Cup overshadowed her many “crucial” knocks of 30 and 40, which followed that “benchmark-setting” innings. Two days before the ODI World Cup begins in New Zealand, the vice-captain added that critics often forget her low-scoring but important knocks because of one standout performance.
“I know people talk more about my 171-knock and that is a standard I have set for myself, maybe that’s why my small knocks of 30-40 runs, which are crucial to the team, are not given importance,” Kaur said during a virtual press conference on Wednesday.
“I don’t want to judge myself through numbers – what matters to me is that when the team needs me, I can stand up for them be it by scoring 100 runs or 10 runs.”
The 32-year-old had been struggling with the willow but roared back to form in time for the World Cup, beginning on Friday.
Kaur scored a total of 33 runs in the first three matches against New Zealand before being dropped from the side for the fourth ODI. However, in the final game, the right-hander smashed 63, following it up with a 104 in the warm-up match against South Africa.
“Yes definitely (feeling confident about batting), there were a lot of ups and down in my performance but the last hundred performance has given me a lot of confidence.
“The innings against New Zealand was very crucial for me. I got the rhythm I needed now it’s very important for me to continue this rhythm and momentum.
“I have a lot of expectation from myself because I know my importance in the team. One wants to do well every time but things are not always in your favour.
“When things are not going your way a lot of people say a lot of things but the good thing in that is the people around me gave me a lot of confidence during the crucial time.
“It is painful when as a cricketer you are not getting runs. You are trying to give your 200 per cent but are not able to deliver at that level you expect of yourself,” she added.
Mumbai-based sports psychologist Dr. Mugdha Bavare is travelling with the Indian women’s team for the first time and Kaur feels her services have been vital.
“Mugdha maam has been of a lot of help especially in the last four games which we played against New Zealand where my performance was not good and even I was going into the shell.
“I had things in my mind but I was not aware of it, after talking to her I got the solutions. I got clear ideas after talking to her those things really helped during lat 2-3 games.”
Kaur confirmed that she will be batting at number five in the World Cup.
“I am more comfortable at four but sometime you have to play according to the demands of the team. We had discussions on that but as of now I’m going to play at number 5 but in future if there are any changes that would be according to match situations.”
Need to improve in last 10 overs
Indian batters have been able to score runs in excess of 250 regularly in the series defeat against New Zealand but Kaur feels there is room for improvement in the last 10 overs.
“As a batting unit we are working more on partnerships, looking for who in the top 5 will bat till the end. I think that is the reason we have been able to score more than 250 in the last 5-6 ODIs.
“There are some areas specially the last 5 overs where we are not able to score a lot of runs, that will be very important for us. 40 overs we are sorted but in the last 10 overs we need to improve as a batting unit.”
Need to give Shafali some space
Kaur is confident that the flamboyant Shafali Verma, who is going through a lean run, will find her form in the World Cup and it is important to give the youngster some space.
“She’s a very important player for us and she understands her role well. It happens, sometimes, as hard as you try it sometimes doesn’t translate in performance. This is when we have to give her some time to work on herself.
“We’re all talking to her – me, the other players, Mugda. She will come good at the right time. Right now it’s important to remind her of the good things she has done rather than what’s not going her way.
“I’m sure she’ll click at the right time ,she’s someone who has done very well for us and will bounce back.”
The 32-year-old also said that she missed the warm-up match against West Indies on Tuesday as she had a sore wrist.
India will open their campaign against Pakistan on Sunday.