Mithali Raj calls T20 tri-series ‘perfect opportunity’ for young Indian cricketers
Mithali Raj said that the Indian women’s cricket team should use the upcoming tri-series as preparation for this year’s T20 World Cup.cricket Updated: Mar 20, 2018 23:15 IST
After suffering a humiliating 3-0 drubbing at the hands on Australia in the ODI series, the India women’s team will look to get its act together when the T20 tri-series kicks off on Thursday at the Brabourne Stadium.
ODI skipper Mithali Raj feels the T20 series -- involving India, Australia and England, will give them another opportunity to groom youngsters especially with the women’s T20 World Cup to be held in West Indies in November later this year.
“The team is now preparing for the T20 World Cup later this year and it is important that we get our combinations right before that. Even if we have to make a few changes to the squad, irrespective of the eventual result, it is fine as we have to look at the bigger picture,” said Mithali, who will hand over the captaincy to Harmapreet Kaur for the T20 format.
“We have young talented players (in our ranks) and they really need that experience. In a year or two, we will surely have better quality players playing for India,” she added.
While Smriti Mandhana, at 21, has already established herself in the squad and will be vice-captain for the upcoming series, Mithali felt it is the right time to ‘invest’ in the likes of teen sensation Jemimah Rodrigues, who had a breakthrough domestic season, wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia and 18-year-old Pooja Vastrakar, who she feels can be nurtured into a good all-rounder.
Coming to below-par performance in the ODI series against Australia, Mithali said that players struggled as they had just returned from South African conditions. She also added that the visitors were too superior.
“I think, in every department they (Australia) did their best. We definitely lacked partnerships in the middle-order, (our) bowlers weren’t as disciplined as they were in South Africa. So, yes, things really didn’t go our way.”
She added: “Among all three teams (in the tri-series), Australia will be the top-most because they have a batting line-up which goes very deep and they have bowlers who are very disciplined.”
Mithali felt that the introduction of contract system for women players will help them become full-time professionals.
“There are a lot of players coming from the interiors of India where you know they might not be very sound financially. But with the contract system in place, every cricketer can aspire to play for India and know that she is financially secure and can take up the sport (full-time).”