Bristol [UK], June 20 (ANI): India skipper Mithali Raj lavished praise on teen sensation Shafali Verma and said the opening batter will be an important entity in the squad in all three formats in the coming years.
Shafali led India's recovery after England enforced follow on Friday. Shafali hit a half-century in the second innings of the one-off Test before India walked away with a draw on Saturday.
"She has a great range of shots, and she can be very, very, effective in a format like this if she gets going. In no time, we could see that the score would be somewhere else if she gets going," said Mithali in a virtual press conference.
"Once we knew that it's a used wicket and there won't be much of a movement, we thought it would be a good time to give her a Test debut and she lived up to it.
"Her fifty in the second innings was beautiful fifty as it came with a little more sorted head and a little bit more experience. Those sweetly-timed drives, it was beautiful to watch her. I'm sure she will grow from strength to strength from here on."
"She will be very, very important to the Indian batting unit in all formats. She beautifully adapted to this format. She didn't go like how she would go bonkers in the T20 format. She played sensibly against the new ball and it's great to have her," Mithali added.
Mithali explained what prompted the team to promote Deepti Sharma in the batting order.
"Deepti was left stranded in the first innings and she was in good form. It was a collective decision of the head coach and me to send her at number three. She did play her role," said Mithali while replying to a query from ANI.
A sensational knock from Sneh Rana saved the one-off Test for India as England were unable to tear the lower order on the fourth and final day in Bristol on Saturday as the visitors walked away with a draw.
The Indian skipper also praised Sneh, who made her comeback in the Indian squad with a gutsy knock on Saturday.
"Sneh is surely coming back after five years but that girl has clearly had a good couple of domestic seasons. I'm sure she walked in with loads of confidence. She played very, very sensibly, along with Taniya and Shikha Pandey," said Mithali.
"That partnership was very, very crucial for us, losing Harman and Punam Raut at that stage. That partnership that Sneh Rana built with Shikha Pandey was very, very important for us. So, I'm mighty impressed with all the debutants because right from Shafali to Deepti, Sneh, Pooja Vastrakar and Taniya Bhatia, they've all really done well," she added.
At one stage, the Indian women's team found themselves at 199/7, but the lower-order scripted a memorable fightback and Rana led the charge and with her gritty knock, the Indian side walked away with a draw against England on Saturday.
Mithali feels India have gained a psychological advantage which will put England on the back foot when the two sides meet in the ODI series.
"Psychologically I think it's a big boost and will definitely put England on back foot because they know that even though the main batters have not performed, the lower middle order stood up and performed," said Mithali
"The Indian batting lineup is deep now and it's not just the top-order. The lower middle-order also can bat and in fact can have match winning in partnerships," she added.
England and India will return to Bristol on June 27 for the first of a three-match ODI series. (ANI)