Listened to my soul, says Poonam Raut on decision to ‘walk’ | Cricket News – Times of India


MUMBAI: Some players create a sensation with their performances. Some, with their gestures on the field. India women’s team batter Poonam Raut was in the limelight recently when she decided to walk off after she thought she had edged behind to the ‘keeper off left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux on Day Two of India’s pink-ball Test against Australia at the Metricon Stadium in Gold Coast, even though the umpire hadn’t given her out.
In an exclusive interview to TOI, the India No 3 in Tests says she listened to her soul while taking the impulsive, debatable call.
“When I walked off it was an impulsive decision and I knew it was out and I listened to my soul and did what I felt right at that time. Usually, when a wicket falls no team likes it, and the same happens. Everyone always has a different opinion but I did what I felt like was right,” Raut told this paper.
Moving on from that episode, Raut admits that she’s “disappointed” after being dropped from India’s ODI team during the England tour despite being the top run-getter in the ODI series against South Africa at home in March. “Yes, I was disappointed when I was dropped, but such things are part and parcel of the game. Also, the team is working out different strategies in the run-up to the World Cup (next year). They are trying different combinations and seeing what works best. The whole idea is to give players a chance to get some games under their belt which will boost their morale and get everybody ready for the World Cup,” she says, before adding: “Such things happen in cricket, sometime you play extremely well and sometimes you have to sit out thinking of the bigger picture for the betterment of the team. But these things motivate me and I am practising harder and working harder.”
Is it that her strike rate is an issue here? Is she working to improve in that area? “I don’t feel that my strike rate is an issue. In the Indian team, there are seven-eight batters, including three all-rounders. There are four proper batters, and you should not expect every batter to play at the same strike rate. We require someone who can play the anchor innings and rotate strike and keep the runs ticking. It also depends on how the game is placed. I change my game according to the demand of the situation and I also adapt my game as per the format I am playing and as per the situation of the game. I always try to improve my batting and keep practising on my weaker areas. Especially in 50 over games, you need to have batters who can bat the full 50 overs,” she asserts.
Naturally, she has had a chat with India women’s team coach Ramesh Powar regarding where you need to improve to stage a comeback into India’s limited overs team. “Yes. of course I discussed the same issue with Ramesh sir. Our discussion was on which areas I can improve my game and I am working on his suggestions. I also spoke to Sandy sir and video analyst who helped me to improve my strokes in areas where I was not playing so well. I am constantly working towards improving my game and working hard on it. I am also grateful to the entire coaching staff who keeps giving important suggestions which help improve my game,” says Raut.
The experienced batter is content with the way her career has gone so far. “I am really happy and grateful that I got an opportunity to represent India. Not a lot of people get a chance to play for India for as long as I am playing, the last 12 years have been like a dream which I don’t want to end soon. Right now the focus for us winning the World Cup and the entire team is looking forward to the same. Winning the World Cup would be like the perfect icing for my cake,” she stresses.
Raut is all praise for Powar, who, she says, has already made a difference to the Indian women’s team since his return to the women’s cricket set-up. “There is no doubt that Ramesh sir has made a big difference to the team since he has come in. As he has represented India, his experience helps us improve our game. He knows the game in and out and always shares his experiences with us which helps us improve and we also keep discussing the same with him. He has also changed how we prepare for the game and how we practice. The things we wanted to execute in the game, we practiced during training. He also points out our weaknesses and has created a very positive environment. The results of this are there to be seen,” she gushes.
Like most of her teammates and fans of women’s cricket in India, Raut is a fan of her teammate, opener Smriti Mandhana, who cracked a superb hundred for India in the pink-ball Test. “I have seen Smriti playing for a long time and she has steadily kept improving over the years. It’s been eight years since we have been playing together and there has been a drastic difference in her after every tour. She has worked really hard and quickly adapted to different formats of the game and I really admire it. It’s always a pleasure building a partnership with her. She’s a match-winner,” Raut said.
Raut backs India women’s team’s T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur’s recent statement that a women’s IPL will help improve the standard of the Indian women’s team players. “Yes, I think the women’s IPL should happen. If women’s cricket in India needs to improve, the IPL needs to happen. The more the sport is shown on the TV, the more popular it will get. We are getting a lot of young talent like Richa Ghosh, Shefali Verma, if you need more people like that, we need to have an IPL tournament with five-six teams. The more we play, the better we become and the craze for the sport increases. IPL also allows you to play with international cricketers, you also make a bond and share experiences with these players which again helps in improving you as a cricketer,” says the 31-year-old.
Raut feels that the standard and popularity of women’s cricket in India have improved immensely since she started playing the sport. “The standard and popularity of women’s cricket has gone up many folds. Earlier, I recall that we used to call people and inform them that the Indian women’s team’s match will be aired on so and so time and this channel, but today the channel itself advertises the schedule. So, I think that the sport has grown by leaps and bounds. After the 2017 World Cup (when India reached the final), the team received a lot of attention. Our efforts were well-received and it also inspired the younger generation to take up the sport. Even the mentality of Indian parents towards women’s cricket has changed over the years. When I started in 2000, parents didn’t support their daughters playing cricket, but now things have changed and kids are encouraged to take up the sport. A perception and perspective change was required and I am happy that things have changed a lot and are still changing. Earlier, only one or two Indian women’s team cricketers were famous, but now, the entire team is well-known,” she says.
Raut believes that India has a bright chance to win the women’s ODI World Cup next year in March-April in New Zealand. “Our chances are quite bright as we have a good team which can beat any team in the world. We have done that in our previous series,” she says.

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