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"We are still a work in progress": India head coach Muzumdar rues fielding errors after defeat to Australia

Mumbai (Maharashtra) | December 31, 2023 9:21:16 AM IST
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Weighing in on the defeat after a tense finish in the second ODI on Sunday, Indian women's team head coach Amol Muzumdar said the squad was weak in the field and dubbed the side a "work in progress," highlighting his side's difficulty against the six-time T20 World Cup champions.

Australia's all-rounded effort sealed off a 3-run victory as well as the three-match ODI series against India on Saturday at the Wankhede Stadium. Australia took an unassailable 2-0 lead over India following their 3-run victory in the second 50-over affair.

Following the defeat, Muzumdar stated that the Women in Blue needed to work on its fielding and fitness.

"We're in the process of building it up. There's no doubt that our fielding was below par today. We dropped about six catches (seven). It always happens in a game. Even they dropped a few. But having said that, we still are a work in progress. If we get time post this series, I'm sure we'll try to spend a lot of time on fielding and fitness," Muzumdar said during the post-match press conference.

The 49-year-old did not name any players, but noted that the club has to improve in the death overs - both batting and bowling. After losing seven catches before that, India surrendered 18 runs off the last over. The hosts were unable to seal the game with the bat and lost several wickets.

"At the end of the day we can all sit and say 'oh, we missed out by three runs' but there were about 600 balls bowled in that. So we can always go back and talk about it in hindsight. Yes, we fell short by three runs but I cannot name anyone for the defeat. It's just a collective effort. Probably just one more shot or one more stop in the field could have done the trick," the India coach said.

"I think that didn't tilt the balance but I thought that just gave the momentum to Australia a little bit going into the dressing room. That's one area where I feel we need to have look in and improve ourselves going forward, is the death overs, whether it is batting or bowling. We'll be working hard on that," he said.

He also stated that Richa Ghosh, who struck a valiant 96 in the match, is being groomed to take over at number three.

"We believe Richa can be a good top-order player. We believe in her talent and you've seen the kind of shots she can play. If she can use the first 10 overs and then play to the situation, I think that's the best spot for her," he added.

After losing two matches of the series, India will head into the third and last ODI with the hope of avoiding a whitewash against Australia on January 2 at the Wankhede Stadium.