Experienced top-order batter Punam Raut has expressed her disappointment at not making India's squad for the Women's ODI World Cup, saying "it is very disheartening to be continuously left out."
On Thursday, the BCCI named an 18-player contingent for the upcoming global event in New Zealand in March-April, where Jemimah Rodrigues and Shikha Pandey were also among the notable absentees. The release that carried the squad announcement, however, did not explain the exclusions.
Raut, 32, was part of the ODI squads for the England and Australia tours last year and also featured in the previous edition of the World Cup when India finished runners-up. In the six ODIs that she played in 2021, Raut accumulated 295 runs, including a hundred, at an average of 73.75.
"Having being considered amongst the experienced batsmen and a consistent run scorer for India, I am extremely disappointed at not being a part of the World Cup squad," Raut wrote on Twitter.
"In 2021, I averaged 73.75, scoring 295 runs which included a hundred and two half centuries in the six ODI games that I played. It is very disheartening to be continuously left out even after performing. Having said that, I would like to extend my best wishes to all the players who will be representing India."
Raut has scored 2299 runs in 73 ODIs at an average of 34.83 and has been part of three ODI World Cups and four T20I World Cups. It is not the first time that the right-hander was outperformed by younger, aggressive batters. Even in 2018, she was overlooked for a place in the ODI squad when the team management began grooming the teenaged Rodrigues.
Though Raut has often been criticised for being slow, she improved her strike rate to 68.92 in 2021. Her career strike rate was 56.96 before the start of 2021.
"I don't think too much about strike rate. I focus on my contribution to the team," Raut had said during ODI series against South Africa in March last year. "As for making comebacks [as I have in the past], it is important to stay mentally strong. There are people who tell me that my strike rate is low, but I don't let it worry me. I keep working on my game."
In 2021, Raut was also promoted from Grade C to B in BCCI's central contracts that are handed out for India Women, after a successful limited-overs series against South Africa at home.