Have worked on improving my strike-rate: Punam Raut

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Lucknow, Mar 14 (PTI) Indian batter Punam Raut on Sunday said she had worked on improving her strike-rate, something that has invited a lot of criticism over the years.

Punam, who struck an impressive hundred in a losing cause had scores of 62 and 77 in the first two games respectively.

'I have been working on this, to improve my strike rate...Since lockdown, worked on it, worked on backfoot shots a little bit and also rotating the strike,' she told reporters after India went down by South Africa by seven wickets in the fourth ODI, already conceding the five-match series. Asked if talk about her low strike rate bothered her, Punam Raut said she did not think too much about it and instead focussed on her contribution to the team.

'I don't think too much about strike rate. I focus on my contribution to the team. As for comebacks (which she has made many times), it is important to stay mentally strong. Also, there are people who tell me that my strike is low, I don't let it worry me. I keep working on my game,' she added.

To a question if a score around 270 was not enough given the good batting conditions, she said the total put up by India on Sunday (266) was a challenging one, adding the bowling unit needs to be more disciplined.

'..as far as the bowling unit, there needs to be some discipline. Of course, after lockdown we are coming together after a long time...I am confident as we go along we can do well...,' she added.

'We have to work on bowling, be more disciplined. Also, the fielding we have to work on it. There are youngsters in the team, we have to give time to them.' About her ton in Sunday's game (her third in ODIs), Raut said it was a special one as it came after a long time.

'Very valuable... A century is special for every batter. I wanted to convert my good form into three figures. I like this ground and this wicket (laughs). This is special hundred as it has come after a long time,' she added.

She said during the COVID-19 enforced lockdown, she worked a lot on her batting with her coach and was grateful for that.

'We were away from the game for a year. I worked on my batting during the lockdown, worked with coach. Also, I played some practice matches. I got the time to work on my game during the lockdown, I am grateful for that,' she added.

With regard to her good form and if there was any talk of moving up the order given that the openers were not able to provide good starts, Raut said she said such a decision would be taken by the captain and coach.

Meanwhile, South African batswoman Lara Goodall, who shone with an unbeaten 59 in the team's win, said it was good to contribute.

'It was nice to contribute, sometimes I don’t feel I do that enough as one of the most experienced players in the team,” she added.

Goodall said it was good to win in India after having lost in the 2019.

'We got clobbered the last time we came to India, so we definitely felt that we had a point to prove.

'We are a lot more mature than we were two years ago. We really made a statement today, especially our batting unit, which has been under a lot of scrutiny. It's a massive chase against a world class team, we'll definitely enjoy this one.' The 24-year old left-hander said Mignon du Preez, who hit a 55-ball 61 took the pressure off her once she started scoring.

'Mignon really took the pressure off me, because I started slowly, and once she started scoring, it helped me to play a lot more freely,' she added.

'We always felt in control, we didn't lose wickets in clusters, which has been a problem for us in the past,' she said. PTI SS KHS KHS