Mithali Raj wants to build a team for the future. The 38-year-old, who will be leading India in the one-off Test match and the ODIs in the tour of England, believes when one represents the country, there is no space for personal egos.
Mithali is looking forward to working with Ramesh Powar, keeping aside the issues they had during the latter’s previous stint as head coach of the women’s team. “The past is gone by. I am sure he will come up with plans and we together will steer the ship. We will work in tandem and build a very strong team for the future, especially with the World Cup scheduled next year,” Mithali explains in a chat with Sportstar from Mumbai where she is in quarantine with the team before leaving for UK on June 1.
“This (quarantine) is really tough. No doubt we players do find our ways to stay fit mentally and physically. But, it does take a toll and never easy before we enter the game mode,” says the cricketer who played 10 Tests scoring 663 runs with a highest score of 214 (then a world record) with a century and four fifties at an average of 51.00.
The Test match is a welcome feature in the itinerary. “We have not played the format for such a long time and hence can play with an open mind. There is lot of excitement and it is good to see that this Test in England is followed up with another pink-ball Test in Australia later this year,” she adds.
“My personal opinion is that we should have a continuity in playing Test matches. I believe that all three formats can exist together in women’s cricket too and players need to enjoy all of them,” says the most experienced India women’s cricketer.
“We are going with an open mind, will be positive and confident of living up to the expectations for a Test match always challenges a player in many ways and the girls too are really excited,” says Mithali, who holds almost every record in women’s cricket having played 214 ODIs scoring 7,098 runs with seven tons and 55 fifties at an average of 51.06 spanning 22 years.
“We can’t say how good or equipped a young player is for these conditions (English) or not unless she gets the kind of exposure. But, this team has players with plenty of experience by way of ODIs and T20Is,” she says.
“There are no practice matches scheduled as of now but we will certainly have a camp before the tour begins in UK after the mandatory quarantine there,” Mithali says.
“We need to televise women’s cricket matches regularly and this should also help the game build up a fan base across the world,” she adds.
“I am glad the BCCI had already initiated measures to ensure continuity in Tests if the pink ball Test in Australia for us is any hint. This will only help improve players standards,” Mithali says.
“I am sure the BCCI is also working to have more of India A tours for women’s cricket and it is unfortunate that the Under-19 World Cup for girls is cancelled or else it would have provided the girls a platform to create a buzz,” she reasons.
Mithali expects the BCCI to prepare a schedule that will help the girls train better for the day-night Test. “The BCCI will definitely come up with a schedule which shall help the Indian team with some matches, before going for the pink ball Test in Australia. I am personally excited to play as I never thought I would play one in my career,” she says.