BRISTOL: India women's ODI skipper Mithali Raj has said she always encourages teen sensation Shafali Verma to play her natural game.
England and India will be locking horns in the ODI series from Sunday. Ahead of the first match, Mithali said the experienced players are ready to take the mantle from Shafali if India get off to a good start.
Shafali has been a revelation in Indian cricket and the young batter is almost certainly going to make her ODI debut on Sunday. "That's Shafali's style (going full throttle) of batting. She will have to be consistent, but she is still young. I have always encouraged her to play her the natural game and if she gives us a great start, we experienced players will take it from there.
"I want Shafali to bring her usual energy to the batting line-up. And even if we lose early wickets we have the batting depth to rely on," said Mithali while replying to a query from ANI.
India might have walked away with a draw in the one-off Test and despite mentioning that England will be on the back foot in the limited-overs leg, Mithali on Saturday said the English team will have the home advantage when the series gets underway.
"Going into the series, we are very positive. England is one of the best sides in the world and they have a home advantage. We have players who have played in leagues and that will helps us do well in ODIs," said Mithali.
The Indian skipper added that the leagues have helped Indian players get accustomed to the conditions. "It has helped players add more dimensions to their game. It really helps to develop confidence for a situation you are not experienced at the international level," she said.
The three-game ODI series will begin on Sunday and this would provide a chance for India to narrow down on the players who would be suitable for the women's 50-over World Cup set to be played next year.