Says midfielder Sonika Indian Hockey Team will come back to the FIH Pro League

The opening match in the current Asia Cup between India and Pakistan was an 1-1 draw. In the second game against Japan, Pakistan lost 1-3. This meant that the possibility of getting into this year’s World Cup were dependent on the game that would be played between India as well as Indonesia.

In the last game of India with Indonesia, India defeated Indonesia 16-0 to make it to an Asia Cup knockout stage. India’s selection for to the World Cup was in their own control. Even a loss to poor Indonesia wouldn’t have guaranteed their place into the knockout stage.

Women’s cricket was slow in the past and the game was also known to be low scoring. It has been slow to evolve, however, teams have scored scores of 300 or more at times. Countries such as Australia and England have a head start in terms of the amount of power-hitters on the team at present. Additionally, the higher fielding standards and teams that are focusing on getting players with a strong attack intent into the squad have narrowed the difference between women’s and men’s cricket. Additionally league cricket has increased the popularity of the sport.

Indian ladies’ cricket squad has long-standing history with Mithali Raj. Mithali Raj has played in of many matches. India has played in 295ODIs and won one hundred and 158 and losing 130. One game was tied, while four games didn’t yield any outcome. Mithali has played 232 ODIs in the name of India out of 295 that they were involved in, which indicates her participation in the game for quite a while. The game was an extremely low scoring affair, so the need for a third player who could play the most balls and remain at the same end was vital. Anjum Chopra was the anchor position often as a middle-order batter for India during the time that Mithali had just entered the beginning phase of her professional career. Mithali’s role was more like an aggressive player.

The number three batter that used to fill the role of anchor has been a frequent connection within the ODI team. After Anjum Chopra played the anchor role for a significant part in the ODI team after 2000 There was a change that took place in 2009-2010. Mithali was playing the position of leading batter of the middle order, who often scored match-winning runs as an anchor. In recent times she, together as Smriti Mandana as well as Harmanpreet Kaur scored a large portion of runs. The three key batters of the Indian team played different roles. Smriti’s task was to ensure an excellent starting point to the team. Mithali provided the stability which other batters were able to play freely, and Harmanpreet was in the position to deliver big hit at the back.

Mithali was often criticised for her slow rate of strike in recent times. However, it was also the case that she extended her Indian innings by remaining at the crease until the final. Mithali has pushed her arsenal and had a strong technical background however the careful approach was needed to ensure that the team does not experience the dreadful batting collapse. Raj played her part flawlessly, however, she was unable to adapt her game to match current trends, that had an impact on India’s performance at the recent ODI World Cup.

India women won just three games in the 2022 World Cup and lost four matches. They fell in the match in the match against New Zealand while chasing 261 and then were defeated by the sum of 198. The reason for this was the lack of a desire to attack from batters. There was another instance in the match against England in which they were all-out on 13 within 36.2 overs. The format employed for the Indian team was not working in the course of play and World Cup showed it very evidently. There was a deficiency of regular and aggressive players within the team. Harmanpreet was playing a brisk knocks on the team often but none of the batters consistently scoring runs other than Smriti Mandana. Mithali’s announcement changes the entire setup since she was a crucial player to the overall structure. It could also be an occasion to allow India’s Indian team to set themselves together in a manner that they have several players that can change their roles at any point.

When Mithali Raj has announced her retirement and has left the ODI team. It is now a matter of who will become India’s third player and how will the team take on the next games. The openers Smriti Mandhana as well as Shafali Varma are a great pair in the Indian team since their styles of batting complement each the other. Shafali is a hitter at the beginning of the game, while Mandhana is among the most elegant batters in the field. Mandhana is the left-hander who is also the leading run-scoring player for the team and Shafali is able to play her natural game in her.

Now that Mithali Raj has said goodbye to the game Poonam Raut has the option of batting at one-down again, and the veteran player could be the anchor player. Raut has recorded 610 runs in 17 innings and is 40.66. Yastika Bhatia hasn’t had much experience in batting below the top three. However, she has shown a strong method of batting in the middle of the order. Additionally, she is averaging 371 runs in ODI with a strike rate of 28.53 and an average strike percentage of 71.62 which means she is able to play with an the intention to attack. With these top fourfigures, the Indian team is able to take an attack-oriented style of play.

Harmanpreet Kaur will be the most obvious choice since she can change gears at any moment as well as being technically strong. Harmanpreet has recorded 2982 ODI runs with a strike rate of 35.50 and she has a striking rate of 71.39. In the next five spots, Richa Ghosh and Pooja Vastrakar will be able to complete the match. Additionally, Deepti Sharma and Sneh Rana could be bowlers with batsmanship. Richa Ghosh scored 186 runs in nine innings, with an average 23.25 and an average strike rate of 95.87.

In the bowling section, Deepti Ghosh and Sneh Rana together with Rajeshwari Gaikwad make up an impressive spin attack. Jhulan Goswami as well as Pooja Vastrakar are the pace attack. Harmanpreet is able to bowl, so she can give a few overs. If the team wishes to add additional pace bowlers, they could add Meghana Singh instead or Poonam Raut. In this scenario, Yastika can bat one-down and Deepti Sharma could come into bat at the fourth spot as she is able to make a good knock. Jemimah Rodrigues is a good third option in the middle three. Another young 19 year old Muskan Malik of Uttar Pradesh performed well in the women’s senior ODI Trophy 2021/22 as she scored 364 runs over 7 innings , with an average 72.80 while playing at the third position in her squad.

“It will be the last two matches of our FIH Hockey Pro League 21/22 campaign and definitely the mood in the team is upbeat to finish on a high. It was a great experience to play these matches, traveling to South Africa earlier in the year, then playing home games and now we play in Europe in front of a packed stadium. The league has given us great insights into the top teams and it’s also been great learning for us in terms of how we must improve as a unit,” declared India Skipper Amit Rohidas, looking back at the tournament to date.

“We have to win both the matches this weekend, there is no doubt about that,” said the Vice-Captain of India and drag flick expert Harmanpreet Singh on the eve of their first game in their arch-rivals the Netherlands tomorrow.

“It will be tough matches, playing the Netherlands in their home conditions is always challenging but we are prepared for it. We have our last training session today and we will go about the things we need to cautiously avoid against a team like the Netherlands and work on our plus points. The team is definitely aware of where we stand in the points table, and what we need to do to better our final placings although Belgium like us have just two more matches whereas the Netherlands has four more games to be played,” He explained.

One of the most memorable aspects of India throughout this season’s FIH Pro League games was their determination. The team’s captain, Rohidas said, “The matches against Belgium were excellent according to me. We kept on fighting till the end, and that was one of the biggest takeaways. It is also very nice to see new players adapt to our fast-paced game really quickly and have developed a good understanding with the rest of the team. This has helped immensely in field positioning, particularly inside the circle, and has also helped us in creating options inside the D,” the coach explained.

Both Netherlands and India at the same level with regards to their ability and quality in the squad, Amit Rohidas and Co. are aware that the game will be played down to the very end. “We will have to be at our best the entire 60 minutes and be alert in all areas,” said both Vice-Captain and Captain in their closing remarks before the double header on Saturday.

In the lead up to their match against Argentina In the lead-up to their match against Argentina, Savita, the Indian Women’s Hockey Team Captain Savita declared, “Our preparations are going on well. We had two great training sessions and everyone has focused on improving their game. We are looking forward to our matches against Argentina and looking to perform as a team and as individuals. We are quite confident ahead of the matches as we played a good game against Argentina in the Semi-Final of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”

The goalkeeper also discussed the team’s training specific to Penalty Corners, “We are working on improving our execution with regards to Penalty Corners. During our practice sessions, the players trained with the best mindset and worked on earning Penalty Corners and executing shots on goal. Hopefully, the players will improve upon executing Penalty Corners in our upcoming matches as well.”

The Indian Women’s Hockey Team Vice-Captain Deep Grace Ekka expressed that the team is well-prepared for their games with Argentina, “We have learned a lot about our own games during our practice sessions after our matches against Belgium. We have corrected the mistakes we made in our previous matches and we are fully prepared for our next challenge.”

Important tournaments such as the FIH the Hockey Women’s World Cup 2022 and Commonwealth Games 2022 scheduled for this time, this year’s Defender has spoken about the suggestions she’s given to young players on the Indian side “When I had first joined the team, my seniors had told me to just replicate whatever I was doing during practice. So even I tell the same thing to the young players in our team. And the more we keep things simple, the better it is for us. Before we receive the ball, we should be aware of where our team members are standing so that we can pass the ball quickly.”

The goalkeeper also discussed the team’s training specific to Penalty Corners, “We are working on improving our execution with regards to Penalty Corners. During our practice sessions, the players trained with the best mindset and worked on earning Penalty Corners and executing shots on goal. Hopefully, the players will improve upon executing Penalty Corners in our upcoming matches as well.”

The Indian Women’s Hockey Team Vice-Captain Deep Grace Ekka expressed that the team is well-prepared for their upcoming matches with Argentina, “We have learned a lot about our own games during our practice sessions after our matches against Belgium. We have corrected the mistakes we made in our previous matches and we are fully prepared for our next challenge.”

There are important tournaments like the FIH hockey women’s World Cup 2022 and Commonwealth Games 2022 scheduled for in the coming year, Defender has spoken about the suggestions she’s offered to the youngsters on the Indian team “When I had first joined the team, my seniors had told me to just replicate whatever I was doing during practice. So even I tell the same thing to the young players in our team. And the more we keep things simple, the better it is for us. Before we receive the ball, we should be aware of where our team members are standing so that we can pass the ball quickly.”

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