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Going early will help Indian women’s cricket team do well in South Africa: Mithali Raj

The Mithali Raj-led Indian women’s cricket team, which would be playing a three-match ODI series followed by a five-match T20 series, is flying to South Africa on Wednesday.

cricket Updated: Jan 23, 2018 23:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
South Africa vs India,SA vs IND,South Africa women vs Indian women's cricket team
Mumbai: India women's cricket team skipper Mithali Raj addresses media, ahead of the tour to South Africa for a bilateral T20 and ODI series, on Tuesday. (PTI)

Indian men’s cricket team head coach Ravi Shastri admitted that ten more days of practice in South Africa, ahead of the Test series, would have benefitted his players. The Indian women’s cricket team seems to have learnt a lesson from the wrong call by Virat Kohli and Co. Mithali Raj and the team would reach South Africa well in advance for their limited-overs series starting at Kimberly on February 5.

The team, which would be playing a three-match ODI series followed by a five-match T20 series, is flying to South Africa on Wednesday.

Ahead of the squad’s departure, captain Mithali Raj and coach Tushar Arothe emphasized on the importance of going early.

“Going early in any condition helps. We had gone early to England too ahead of our World Cup campaign there. And it helped us a lot. When you reach early, you have time to acclimatise with conditions and also get used to the kind of bounce you normally don’t encounter in Asian conditions,” said Mithali on Tuesday.

“We are also expecting a lot of lateral movement because this is the first time when we would be playing with two new balls. We need to assess these things before taking to the field,” the 35-year-old added.

Coach Tushar Arothe expressed similar sentiments.

“Pitch condition is completely different in South Africa. It is important to prepare well. We will be playing a couple of practice games and it will help us do well,” he said.

Indian women’s cricket team has not played any international cricket since making it to the final of ICC Women’s World Cup last year, but Mithali believes her players are in the right shape to take up the challenge.

“Yes, we have not played international cricket for the last seven months but our players are in match mood. We had a week-long camp here (in Mumbai) and a couple of girls are coming from the Women’s Big Bash League. They look very agile and fit. Before the World Cup, we had played a lot of cricket so girls needed time to recover. Some of them had injuries too. The gap has helped them recover well,” she said.

The skipper, though, admitted the tour would not be easy for the players and they need to play out of their skins to beat the Proteas.

“South Africa is a very good side. They almost made it to the final at last year’s World Cup. It is going to be a big test for all of us,” she said.

Mithali and her team members also had an opportunity to interact with cricket great Sachin Tendulkar during their camp and his inputs, she believes, will help youngsters in particular during the tour.

“Sachin is a legend. Talking to him is always inspirational. He especially talked about how to deal with failure on cricket field. This was something that our young girls needed to understand as a player’s response to failures goes a long way in her overall development,” she said.

First Published: Jan 23, 2018 19:26 IST