Opener Shafali Verma, whose twin half-centuries helped Indian women’s cricket team eke out a draw in the one-off Test last week against England, will again be the cynosure of all eyes when she takes the field for her ODI debut in the first game of a three-match series against the hosts that begins here on Sunday.

The Indian women’s team has put up a strong challenge to England women’s team in ODIs in recent times. Between 2010 and 2019, they have won 10 and lost 12 of the 22 matches played between the two sides.

India’s overall record against England is also decent with 30 wins against 37 losses.

However, in England they have suffered. Out of 29 matches, Indian women have lost 22 and won just five to cop an abysmal 0.227 win-loss ratio.

India will need a strong start to get to a big score or chase a total. For that they will need Shafali to go all out.

Skipper Mithali Raj said that the team management will let Shafali play her natural game and if she falls, the experienced middle-order will take over to do the repair work.

“Since she (Shafali) is getting into playing the one-day format for the first time, I as a captain always encourage her to play the way she enjoys playing, she is comfortable playing,” Mithali told media on the eve of the match.

“We as experienced batters in the middle order will be able to… if we lose an early wicket, we are there to sort of compensate and build an innings and if she gives us a great start, we will take it from there,” added Mithali.

India had won the previous bilateral series 2-1 in February 2019. That, however, was played in Mumbai.

–IANS

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