Unfair to point fingers at Mithali Raj's strike-rate when other batters aren't contributing: Nooshin Al Khadeer

Unfair to point fingers at Mithali Raj’s strike-rate when other batters aren’t contributing: Nooshin Al Khadeer

Raj scored 63 runs at a strike rate of 58.87 against Australia in the first ODI.

Mithali Raj
Mithali Raj. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Former India player and current Railways women’s team coach Nooshin Al Khadeer has said that the constant criticism directed at skipper Mithali Raj over her strike rate is not fair when she is the only player constantly contributing to the team’s cause.  The elegant batter is in a rich vein of form and scored her fifth consecutive fifty against Australia in their first match of the three-match series which commenced on Tuesday (21 September).

Barring Mithali, none of the Indian batters could contribute much as India were restricted to just 225 by some disciplined bowling from the Australian bowlers. Although the Indian skipper is the only batter scoring runs on a consistent basis, the constant criticism on her strike-rate has refused to die down. During her last ODI against Australia, the batter scored at a strike rate of above 60.

Nooshin said that the unfair criticism is not ideal as Mithali confessed in several of the interviews that when the rest of the batters fail to contribute it is ideal for to play according to the situation and not lose a wicket in the process.

“I think it is very easy for us to sit back and judge that strike-rate is an issue, but as cricketers, do we realize what situation she has walked into bat,” Khadeer said at a virtual con-call when asked about the the talks on Mithali Raj, according to Cricket.com.

“I would want to put forward a question saying that is it okay for a batter to score 10 runs in 8 balls or a batter who is able to score 60-70 runs, okay in 100 balls she has taken and contribute those 60 runs, there is a difference in that.”

The former India off-spinner also said that India can’t afford to have people scoring over the strike-rate of 100 and not contributing consistently.

“So if we are going with a strike rate of 100 and we miss out on her innings, then there will be criticism that, she is not informed, not contributing, so where is the contribution of the middle order, we need to have people contributing. Otherwise, we will see India not even crossing 200 runs,” she stated.

Shafali Verma should try to stay on the back foot to negate the short balls: Nooshin Al Khadeer

Nooshin concluded by saying that young batter Shafali Verma should stay on the back foot to counter the short balls. She reckoned that the technical adjustment would help her score more runs.

“I think in the first ODI, we have seen that they (Australians) were bowling too short on her (Shafali) body. She needs to be adapt and get her back-foot shots quite well because the Aussies have read her, she is a fabulous front-foot player and she can be destructive,” Khadeer said.

“But if Shafali can get on to her back-foot, I am sure that it is going to take Australia on a backfoot… she needs to be working on her back-foot now.”