India Women's stand-in skipper for the T20I series against England, Smriti Mandhana has bluntly asked the domestic players to play the "fearless" brand of cricket in order to reduce the gap between domestic and international circuits.
Her comments came after India conceded an unassailable 0-2 lead to England in the three-match T20I series. The home team has failed to breach the 120-run mark in both of these encounters and has failed to challenge England.
"I think if you look at it, the batters we get in domestic (circuit), they face very different bowling and fielding attack to international cricket," Mandhana said.
"There is a huge gap between international and domestic cricket. That gap needs to be lessened. Our domestic circuit needs to step up. There should be a bit of fearlessness in domestic circuit because if you start playing fearless cricket in domestic, that is the only way you are going to play the same way in international cricket.
"If you look at our domestic scores in T20s, it is generally around 110-120. I think we all need to go back, step up our domestic circuit, take those scores to 140-150. If that is happening then all the batters will come with the same mindset of playing a fearless brand of cricket. Fearless doesn't mean careless. There is a thin line between fearless and careless. I think we need to play fearless."
Having lost six of their last T20Is, India have been in horrible form in the shortest format of the game. Mandhana said it's important that Indian batters bat without the fear of getting out.
"We have spoken to all the batters, (Coach WV) Raman sir has spoken to them. Even me, Mithu di (Mithali Raj) and Harry di (Harmanpreet) have spoken to all the domestic batters regarding how the approach should be. We are definitely working on it. It is going to take some time because still our batters have the fear of getting out," she said.
"I think we need to leave that fear, including me. We need to just get off those fear and select the areas (to hit). Our batters are not going out there and selecting the areas in terms of which balls to hit. I think another major difference between other teams and our team is running between the wickets. We either play a dot ball or boundary. We don't take lot of singles. Definitely we will be looking to work on reducing the dot-ball percentage, taking more singles and rotating the strike."
The third and final T20I will be played on Saturday in Guwahati.