Shikha Pandey – AFP

'Working to be consistent' – Shikha Pandey takes pride in career-best 4/18

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Shikha Pandey, the India Women pace bowler, said some minor technical changes had helped her be more consistent and bounce back from being dropped from the side last year.

Pandey took a career-best 4/18 in India's win in the second ICC Women's Championship one-day international against England on Monday, 25 February, with her well-controlled in-swingers doing the trick. It followed her impressive 2/21 in the first game, where she made important breakthroughs with the new ball, continuing a good run of international form from the ODIs in New Zealand.

It marked a turnaround for the swing bowler, who fell out of favour with the selectors last year, being left out of the Twenty20 International squad for the ICC Women's World T20 2018 in the Caribbean.

"I have worked a lot in being consistent," she told reporters after the second ODI. "[There] is this thing about me not being consistent, so, I am trying to work hard on that.

"There were a few technical issues, which Raman sir [coach WV Raman] when he came in brought to my notice. I was very surprised that I did not realise those [earlier]. He has been that assuring face in the dressing room. He is someone you can go and speak to about bowling and he is always there with an opinion. He caught the flaw."

Pandey insisted that she had put the drop behind her. A self-confessed "over-thinker", she said she had simply been working on "controlling the controllables".

Goswami picked up four wickets in the second ODI
Goswami picked up four wickets in the second ODI

"Getting dropped from the World T20 side is something that is not in my hand," she said. "I am only trying to help myself with the controllables, what’s in my control. I seem to be bowling well in the nets and I am just taking that confidence into the match. I won’t say that getting dropped from the T20 side has sparked something in me.

"I am in a very good headspace right now. A few months ago I was not feeling really well about myself, but right now I am just enjoying my bowling. I am just trying to control the controllables, the things that are not in my control are out of the picture. Probably I have stopped brooding a lot ... My focus has narrowed a lot. That has been helping me," she added.

Monday's game was special in that it was only the third time ever that two pace bowlers from a side finished with four wickets each – the veteran Jhulan Goswami picked up 4/30 and the Player of the Match award. Pandey was thrilled that fast bowlers played such a big role on traditionally slow wickets in India.

"I am very happy if medium pacers take wickets and today both of us had eight. Considering that in India wickets are not that medium-pacer friendly, to actually get eight wickets I would commend ourselves," she said.

Hailing Goswami's work ethic, she added, "She is 35-36 – for her to continue her international career and bowl so well … As a youngster when I came into the side I could just learn from her. Work ethic for starters ... She is such a team player, always there for the team. If I could emulate even 10% of that I would be doing a great job."

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