The smartest are those who bury the bygones, and so is the 38-year-old Indian captain, Mithali Raj, the Indian batting sensation and experienced cricketer who has played a total of 10 Tests, in particular, to score 663 runs with the then-world-record score of 214, along with a century and four fifties at an average of 51. Moreover, bracingly, she holds almost every record in her 22 years span in cricket with having played 214 ODIs scoring 7,098 runs with seven centuries and 55 fifties at an average of 51.06.
Since Ramesh Powar has supplanted WV Raman as the new head coach of India, Raj expresses her concern to zero in on the future, with a restored centre around the impending 2022 Cricket World Cup.
“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 Raj conveys in a chat with Sportstar recently, where she pounds on her intentions with looking forward to working with Ramesh Powar, the former Indian coach with whom the Indian skipper had some feud much in the air, back in 2018.
In a letter to the Board of Control for Cricket in India back in 2018, the skipper had blamed Powar for embarrassing her and also accused him of discrimination and bias, that ushered ways for the Captain-Coach duo to secure several headlines. She being ousted from the playing XI against England in the 2018 World Cup semi-final, had fueled up a commotion in cricketing circles. This would be Powar’s first series to head on as India’s head coach since his re-appointment at a juncture when the glittering side fixes eye on the 2022 World Cup.
She is presently quarantining in a Mumbai hotel along with her team-mates, ahead of leaving for United Kingdom (UK) on June 1 for the much-awaited month-long and all-format series against England, which starts on June 16 with an odd-ball Test, followed by three ODIs and T20s each, that concludes on July 14.
Mithali Raj shared how the week-long isolation has been a job too tough. Although the players are always in a way to push their ways to stay mentally and physically fit and fine, it counts for the deliverance and is never that easy prior to the game.
“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 somewhat rejoiced on the format being a smooth and soft welcome knock in the circuit.
Also, she personally believes that the side should be availed with continuity of test matches, with the fact that the women’s cricket and its cricketers can enjoy the simultaneous existence of all the three formats.
“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 further added along with hinting at no such scheduling of practice matches but she believes that the squad would have a camp ahead of the beginning of the series after the ‘mandatory quarantine there’.
Mithali Raj 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,” and she longs on to add, “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 finally stressed the need to televise women’s cricket on a regular basis to keep the greater good going for their side, which would, in turn, help the game mount a fan base across the world.