PREVIEW: Indian women’s ODI team vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur on Friday said it was a “tough call” to leave veteran pacer Shikha Pandey out of the upcoming limited-overs series against South Africa but she has not been dropped for good. The Indian women’s team will play five ODIs and three T20Is against South Africa, starting with the first one-dayer here on Sunday, which will mark the team’s return to competitive cricket after almost 12 months. Pandey’s omission from the ODI and T20 teams for the South Africa series created quite a flutter.
“I know it was a tough call, sometimes, you need to give chance to other players,” said Harmanpreet, who is the captain of India’s T20 team, during a virtual press conference. “She is not dropped…sometimes you need to take chances, after this tournament we will be able to settle our combination as we have a lot of cricket coming up in next 2-3 years.” The 31-year-old Pandey has played 52 ODIs and 50 T20 Internationals for India, taking 73 and 36 wickets respectively. Talking about the upcoming series, Harmanpreet said there is no rustiness in the side despite the prolonged time away from the game and they will look to regain their confidence with a good performance against South Africa. “I don’t think we are feeling any rustiness, we are very exited, I know it is a long break, sometimes things are not in your control. I hope we will have a great tournament,” she said. “Every tournament is important, and definitely South Africa is one team which has done very well in last couple of years and for upcoming tournaments, it is an advantage for us to play well against them and regain our confidence since we are playing after a long time.” Harmanpreet will complete a century of ODIs when India take on South Africa on Sunday and she said it will only motivate her to do better.
“I didn’t know that (100th ODI). I will be very excited because first of all we are playing after a long time and then it is my 100th ODI so, both the things will give me a lot of energy to play and I hope to do well,” she said. Asked if this break will be a loss for Indian women’s cricket compared to Australia and England, Harmanpreet said: “It was a long break but sometimes things are not under your control, now we are getting to play cricket and we have to ensure we use this time and make our best combination and prepare for the upcoming tournaments.”