Ramesh Powar, the India Women head coach, has echoed team captain Mithali Raj's thoughts, calling Sneh Rana the "find of the England series". Rana has sparkled with bat and ball so far, and has "played her role to the core", Powar said.
"Sneh Rana is the find of this series," Powar told the BCCI website. "The way she was bowling in the practice sessions in Southampton [India's base prior to the start of the tour], we thought we should give her a chance. It was a difficult decision to play two offspinners [Deepti Sharma is the other], but she has played her role to the core.
"I am really happy for her. Being an offspinner myself, I can see the talent. She is someone who can play in crunch situations, and that is what we need right now. When the big tournaments and the big series come up, we need players of calibre, who can take pressure."
Rana, 27, was given a go for the all-format tour of England after a superb domestic one-day competition, where she was the leading wicket-taker for title-winners Railways. In the XI in the one-off Test, Rana, in the XI primarily as a bowler, scored 80* from No. 8 in over three hours and partnered Taniya Bhatia (44*) in an unbroken stand of 104 for the ninth wicket to help India salvage a draw. She was also India's most successful bowler in England's only innings, returning 4 for 131.
Then, in the ODIs, she picked up two wickets in two games, conceding runs at an economy rate of 4.35, and played a key role in India's only win, following up her 7-0-31-1 with a 22-ball 24 in a tight run chase. Her half-century stand for the sixth wicket with Raj took India home in a last-ball finish.
"The fielding improved immensely; the bowling improved immensely. Our batting has to be up if we're aiming for the World Cup"Ramesh Powar
Powar was equally effusive in his praise for Raj, who finished her England tour [she is retired from T20Is] with three back-to-back half-centuries. Raj finished the ODI series as the highest run-scorer, her tally of 206 runs a whopping 64 more than second-placed Nat Sciver. During the series, Raj surpassed former England captain Charlotte Edwards to become the leading run-scorer in women's international cricket, and her 58 fifties are the most by a woman in ODIs.
"She deserves every praising word out there," Powar said. "She has been a fantastic servant of the game for 22 years. She is a role model for a lot of girls; she single-handedly won us the game [third ODI]."
The next few months are going to be crucial for India's preparations for the 50-over World Cup next year in New Zealand. The England tour would be followed by a multi-format tour of Australia. Then, India play Australia and New Zealand in a tri-series before the marquee tournament, where India finished runners-up in 2017.
For India to go one step better, the batters must come to the party. Raj aside, no Indian batter managed a half-century in the ODI series, and there have been concerns about the form of some of the batters, T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues among them. "We have to learn a lot many things from this series," Powar said. "The fielding improved immensely; the bowling improved immensely. Our batting has to be up if we're aiming for the World Cup."