The return of Mithali Raj as skipper of the Indian women's cricket team came after the sacking of Anjum Chopra as captain and player amidst talk of a demoralised team. But with the England tour approaching, the team insists the mood in the camp is upbeat.
“Since it's a young team, they all want to do well. They just want to focus on their performances. The key will be to translate the off-field strategies into action on the field which was not happening during the last two series," India coach Anju Jain told HT before the team's departure.
The 35-year old Chopra was given the boot following two disastrous series against West Indies and Australia early this year. In West Indies, India lost the T20 series 3-2 and the one-day leg 2-1. Subsequently, they were whitewashed 3-0 in the one-dayers and lost the T20s 4-1 against the visiting Australians.
But when the team as a collective outfit failed, was it fair to lay all the blame on the captain? Asked about Chopra's omission, Raj, who last captained the side in 2008, said: “What can I say? As a teammate and fellow player I cannot comment on it.”
A tour of England is considered challenging for any player, so would Chopra's experience not have made a difference? "Experience always helps. But then a player only gets experienced by playing more games, which the other players will over a period of time," added Raj, with an air of awkwardness.
Jain also stressed on the value of having a younger team. “It helps to have younger players. Especially on overseas tours, the energy they provide on the field can be crucial.”
India are scheduled to play a T20I against Ireland and 2 T20Is and 5 ODIs against England. The tour begins on June 24.