Former Indian cricketer Hemlata Kala believes that Punam Raut should book her place as the number three batter in India's ODI and Test squad ahead of the likes of Jemimah Rodrigues and Priya Punia.
The Indian women's team is currently in Australia for a multi-format series featuring three ODIs, three T20Is, and a one-off day-night Test match. The series will get underway on Tuesday, September 21st with the ODIs.
In an interaction organized by Sony Sports network, former all-rounder Hemlata Kala asserted that Punam Raut would be India's best option at the number three spot ahead of the upcoming World Cup in 2022.
Kala believes that one Raut shouldn't be judged on the basis of the one game she played in England. She also suggested that despite being a slow starter, Raut is someone who can consistently anchor the innings.
Here's what Kala had to say:
One cannot judge Punam Raut on just one match. She was the highest run-getter in the series against South Africa earlier this year. Her strike rate was around 70-80, but you have to account for the loss of early wickets in that as well. She can be the best with the consistency she provides despite being a slow starter.
The former Indian all-rounder opined that Punam Raut could provide some stability to the Indian middle-order. Raut was India's highest run-scorer in the ODI series against South Africa in February this year, scoring 263 runs at a strike rate of 71.66.
Punam Raut can provide us with that stability like Rahul Dravid used to provide for the men’s team: Hemlata Kala
Hemlata Kala suggested that one down is always a crucial position for the team and the Indian team needs someone consistent in that spot. She was quick to point out that Raut could play the role Rahul Dravid did so often for the Indian team.
"You see Rahul Dravid- the wall, how he stood there and gave stability to team. I think Poonam can provide us that stability and we shouldn't look too far ahead."
Raut might be getting the nod ahead of Rodrigues and Punia in this series, with Mithali Raj dropping down to the number four spot, and the team management will want to find long-term answers to that issue in this series.
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