I face male pacers in nets: Poonam Raut
Poonam Raut is a treat to watch when in full flow as the spectators witnessed when she took on the West Indies bowlers in the opening game of the 2013 ICC Women’s World Cup. The 23-year-old impressed as she posted 72 runs off the 175-run opening stand with M Thirush Kamini at the Brabourne Stadium.
While speaking to bcci.tv ahead of India’s second game against England, Raut discussed her batting and favourite shots, some of which were on display in the previous game. The petite cricketer also gave an insight into her methods of preparation.
Excerpts from her interview:
What is it like batting on the wickets here
It is very easy to bat on this [CCI] wicket. You will get out only if you make a mistake. Even something like 250 can be chased down. So we are aiming to score 300 or more and are preparing accordingly.
Your innings against the West Indies helped set the tone of the match.
It was the first match, so both of us [Kamini and I] were actually nervous. But we were supporting each other and told each other to play with confidence, and that there’s nothing to be afraid of. We said to ourselves that we will see off the first five overs and then once we have assessed the wicket and got our eye in, we will start playing our strokes. We got a lot of positives from that innings. We kept on playing our natural game and we played without any risks. Initially we didn’t take any risks and we played our roles and got the runs that were required. Thirush supported me well and she too got good support from me.
So did you decide to attack?
Since she was playing her first game [since her comeback], we were initially having a bit of problem while running. So we ran safely, and I just told her to play her natural game because we had maintained our run-rate as well. And we wanted to accelerate a while later, and if we could have done that then maybe we would have crossed the 300-run mark. But in the next game, we will definitely work on that.
Have you always opened the innings?
I have always opened the innings and my coach, Sanjay Gaitonde, has also groomed me as a batsman from the beginning. This season I batted one-down for Railways. There is not much difference between batting at No.3 and opening the game.
What is your strategy when you come in to bat?
My strength I think is that I take singles and twos initially. I decide to assess the wicket for the first five overs and only then go for my strokes. I go in with the mindset of playing through the first five overs.
Which is your favourite shot?
I like to drive the ball, and if runs are not coming and I want to take a risk, I go for the scoop shot. So that has become by favourite shot. Seeing that shot many girls ask me to teach them to play it, but I have never really practiced that shot. I just started playing it automatically.
I play it when the team needs runs and you have to take risks.
What is you strategy during powerplay?
My strategy is to take calculated risks, because if you take too many chances, then you might lose your wicket. I take a chance on one or two balls and if I get a boundary, I focus on taking singles and twos after that and not take too many risks.
You had earlier said that Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid are your favourite batsmen.
I like their game. And the way they play and carry their innings forward, I try to do the same. Once I am at the wicket, I want to carry the innings to the end.
I have learnt my scoop shot a bit by watching Sachin play it. And when I saw my innings [from the other day] I felt that I can play my shot a bit like him.
How have you prepared for playing against pacers?
When I am doing my personal practice, I face boys in the nets. I go to Payyade Aquaria Club for practice and I tell them to bowl bouncers and short-pitched deliveries. I tell them it is okay even if I get hurt and that they should just bowl.
Do you draw confidence from Sri Lanka beating England?
Yes, it definitely gives confidence. If Sri Lanka can beat England, any team can beat any other team. You should not underestimate anyone. We don’t go by the name or reputation and treat all teams equally. The game can any change any time; we just play cricket. All we want to do is play good cricket.