As the 2022 ODI World Cup draws closer, India will look to strengthen its reserves by giving opportunities for new talent in the three-match series against Australia. The series will kick off with the first ODI at Harup Park in Mackay.
Middle-order batter Yastika Bhatia and pacer Meghna Singh, who received their maiden international call-ups, will also be given game time as India begin their preparations for the World Cup.
"We want to test the new players like Yastika and Meghna Singh, who are on their first tour. We also have Harmanpreet and Jemimah who have played in Australia in the WBBL. The aim is to give chances to players so they get used to the conditions," Indian skipper Mithali Raj said in a press conference on Monday.
Later in the day, head coach Romesh Powar confirmed that Harmanpreet Kaur has been ruled out of the first ODI due to a thumb injury.
Raj also said that keeper-batter Taniya Bhatiya and teenager Richa Ghosh will play in the series.
"We will also give chances to Taniya Bhatia and Richa because it is important for the team to give opportunities ahead of the World Cup. It is an important series for all the players to get enough game time," she said.
However, squad rotation is not the only aim for India against a top side like Australia.
"We are playing three one-dayers, so the main goal is to win. So the aim is not just to give opportunities but also win the series. We will see how things go from the first game," Raj said.
The all-rounder was confident that Australia will aim for a win and not just experiment by fielding a reserve team.
"I don't look at it that way (Australia using the series to test reserves). For any side, the main aim is to win. We are facing the best sides in the world at their home. I hope they will field their best XI," Raj said.
Mithali said she was also looking to get the combinations right ahead of the World Cup next year.
"We definitely are looking at the combinations for the World Cup, and we will be giving a little more game time to the players to fit into those roles, that's our objective in the series, but the main thing definitely is that we are fielding in the best level to win every game," Mithali said.
"Playing against the best side before the World Cup, it is the best preparation that we can get," she added.
Head coach Ramesh Powar stressed on the importance of scoring 250 consistently and on the bowling front, he adds India needs
"Moving towards the World Cup as a group, batting unit, bowling unit, we have set some targets. We want to score consistently over 250. And we are planning towards that.
"In bowling we are trying to get opponents all out so we are trying to use Jhulan Goswami as the experienced bowler who can give us good openings in front and senior players as always, we expect them to guide youngsters and drive the team which they are doing quite well," said Powar ahead of the series opener on Tuesday (September 20).
(With inputs from PTI)