CHENNAI: Social media is still buzzing over what Deepti Sharma did a fortnight ago at Lord’s. In one way or the other the conversation that started that night has been kept going. However, the India all-rounder has moved on, continuing to do what she does best in the ongoing Asia Cup — delivering for her team in crunch situations.
With the ball — as it has been the case for a while now — she has been India’s go-to bowler across situations, with her overs spread across powerplay, middle and death. And she has returned with the figures 2/15, 1/10 and 0/11. None of it is surprising as her bowling has been key to India’s fortunes through the year.
But, what has stood out is the way she has performed with the bat. Now, Deepti has always been shuffled around in the batting line-up, especially in the shortest format. And, her strike rate has been a bit of a concern in the past (had the highest SR year in 2020 with 100.63). However, since the start of this year, the southpaw has stepped up in this regard, taking the SR up to 123.12 with 213 runs in 11 innings.
In Sri Lanka, she was using the scoop and paddles. During the Commonwealth Games, she showed some more of her armour in the off-side. Through this time, she was batting in the lower-order, trying to accelerate in the last few overs. On Tuesday, coming into bat at No. 3 against the United Arab Emirates, Deepti smashed a 49-ball 64, helping India revive the innings along with Jemimah Rodrigues.
She hit the spinners at will through the leg side, something that is her strong suit, making sure they didn’t let go off the momentum. So much so that 73.43 per cent (47) off her runs came on one side of the wicket. It was an innings of dominance with a batting partner she has a good record with as the southpaw showed she can consistently bat at a faster rate in the shortest format.
Ahead of the Sri Lanka tour in June, the left-hander had spoken about how she adapts to bat in different positions in a chat with this daily. She said going back and watching footage after every match helped her improve. “For me, every match, irrespective of whether I did well or not, whatever innings I played, I liked to go back and watch it. Even the positives, whatever boundaries I hit or good innings I played, it has helped me a lot. When I go back, I practise based on that whether it's bowling or batting. I feel that it has helped me improve a lot,” Deepti had said.
The signs of aggression were there in the tour to the island itself. And although the pitches in Bangladesh are something she thrives on, she has been able to deliver consistently across conditions this year. In a format where the role of a floater is as important as a specialist, Deepti’s new-found consistency and aggression with the bat comes as a big positive for India, given that they will be playing in a T20 World Cup come February 2023.
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