India v England, Women's World Cup 2013, Mumbai February 2, 2013

'England's bowling attack not strong' - Mithali


England Women are heavily reliant on their premier quick bowler Katherine Brunt and do not possess a strong bowling unit, says Mithali Raj, the India Women captain. The hosts will take on the defending champions in the biggest clash in Group A of the Women's World Cup at Mumbai's Brabourne Stadium, whose batting-friendly pitches have opened up the tournament, Raj believes.

England were shocked by unfancied Sri Lanka a day ago at the same ground, going down by one wicket in a last-ball finish. Their batsmen recovered from a poor start to post 238, but their bowlers could not contain Sri Lanka, especially the rampaging Eshani Kaushalya, something that has encouraged Raj and India. "I think England have got a very good batting line-up but I don't think they are very strong in their bowling attack other than Katherine Brunt," Raj said. "They heavily depend on her for the breakthroughs.

"We have played England last year as well and most of our batsmen are very comfortable playing their bowlers but then again, I would say tomorrow is a different day. We are expecting all kinds of situations and we are prepared for anything." England have won seven and lost 17 ODIs to India in India.

Raj praised the Brabourne groundsmen for preparing a flat, "concrete-like" wicket, saying it had narrowed the gap between a top side such as England and a weak side such as Sri Lanka, whose successful chase of 238 was the highest ever in the Women's World Cup. "I did tell you the other day that the tournament was open because each and every team is scoring heavily, more than 200-plus, and they are able to chase, so definitely the tournament is open after yesterday's upset," Raj said.

"I give a lot of credit to the groundsmen for preparing a very batting-friendly wicket. It really doesn't give the bowlers much but the batters have a lot to score on and unless you make a mistake you can't get out on such a track. It is hard and like a concrete wicket.

"Now teams like Sri Lanka, Pakistan or South Africa seem a lot confident because they keep playing many games among themselves and when they come into the World Cup, getting a track like this gives them a lot of confidence."

While India's opening win against West Indies came under lights, their match against England will be a day game, starting at 9 am local time. The early start would not make too much difference, Raj felt. "I don't think there is a lot to get adjusted to because this part of the country is humid. It's not real winter like what we get to see up north where there is the dew factor or the moisture is heavily in the air. But having said that, because the matches start at 9 am there will be a little bit of assistance for the bowlers which I saw in yesterday's game. Other than that I think the wicket is behaving beautifully in both the innings.

Raj said the morning start would not change the approach of the India batsmen given the nature of the pitch. "I would definitely tell my girls to be very positive and very confident. I think playing a day game will not affect us much because what we saw yesterday was that the ball was not doing much, [except] maybe the initial four-five overs, but other than that I think it was the same throughout the day."

There was a lot of support for the hosts against West Indies from the small, but noisy, crowd. Poonam Raut, the India opener who hails from Mumbai and made a half-century that day, was a favourite, with her family and friends cheering every run she scored. "You feel good when there is a match on your home ground," Raut said. "There is a bit of pressure but it feels good that there are supporters for you. I am glad they came to see the match. And they had good wishes for me and had expectations which I fulfilled. I hope that I can play the tournament like that for them and the country."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Krishna on February 3, 2013, 3:58 GMT

    I believe the comments might be too early,however Sri Lanka's win was a fluke because India,Pakistan and Bangladesh teams are far better than Sri Lanka.

  • Bhavesh on February 3, 2013, 3:25 GMT

    Go India go and hit hard on England.

  • Anushka on February 3, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    typical childish comment. it is hilarious team like India who has not achieved anything in woman's cricket commented about the world champions.

  • Gaurav on February 3, 2013, 3:04 GMT

    As usual needless bashing of Indian cricket by some fans here,she just made a normal statement that she feels that Eng bowling is not as strong as their batting on these flat wickets.If this statement is silly then what about statement by Swann who said that there is no mystery attached to India spinners so we should play them out without much trouble,or statement of Pieterson when he said during a test in India-Eng series in Eng that pitch might look flat but when we ball the pitch would start seaming and turning. Atleast she didnt call opposition players DONKEYS or opposition team GARBAGE.Truth is that statements of Swan and Pieterson were normal cricketing statements and this one made by Indian captain is normal statement too not an insult as some are claiming here,btw Flintoff made similar statement that in Eng-India tour that India just have one good bowler which is Zak and if he is injured they are going down badly in the series,again perfectly normal statement.

  • Ashok on February 3, 2013, 1:08 GMT

    Some England fans appeared to be ypp upset by Mithali's comments. All she is doing is stating the fact that the England bowling rests solely on Brunt, who is the seamer. On a flat wicket that wicket taking ability from Brunt will be challenged. I do not think she is stating anything but the obvious fact. "Sllyy comment " & "abnoxious comment" comes from England fans for a harmless but factual comment! SL had proven it by winning the game from an impossible position when England lacked bowling at death.

  • Don on February 2, 2013, 22:11 GMT

    A very silly comment to make against the worlds best women's team, if she is trying to cause unrest in the England camp I think her comments might fall on deaf ears, England are far too professional to let remarks like this unsettle them, methinks they will concentrate on letting their cricket speak for them.

  • Ranil on February 2, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    Silly comments by a poor indian captain & she should be praying that she won't lose tomorrow to eat her words.Sri Lanka's win was amazing to say the least. Ranil Herath - Herath - Kent

  • Al on February 2, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    Another obnoxious comment by KingOwl who thinks he knows all about SL cricket and cricket in general. At least this time he is not moaning about the standard of English in the comments on these forums like he has done before. SL has taken cricket seriously regardless of gender right from the start but womens cricket didn't blossom as there were not many registered players and tournaments in SL for women, something which is being rectified now. As for being flat track bullies, India as the host nation has a perfect right to prepare the kind of wicket they want.

  • V.L on February 2, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    @KingOwl Don't judge a pitch on how well India has batted. Check the margin of victory in the last game vs WI. As for SL vs Eng, there is no way SL women would have crossed 200 if the pitch was bowler friendly. I would say they won by fluke, thanks to some slogging by the tail and lower middle order.

  • James on February 2, 2013, 17:17 GMT

    @multipack How about handing the trophy out to the best team? If the Indian team does not have enough money invested in it then whose fault is that considering the BCCI are the board with the most money. SL were deserved winners but praising "concrete like" pitches and showing a basic lack of respect for your opposition is unbecoming of the Indian captain.

  • No featured comments at the moment.