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Mithali Raj says criticism important for growth of women’s cricket

India captain Mithali Raj said criticism and scrutiny of the team’s performances will only help women’s cricket grow

cricket Updated: Aug 17, 2017 17:10 IST
Shruti Tomar
Shruti Tomar
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Mithali Raj,Indian women's cricket team,ICC Women's World Cup
Mithali Raj led India to the final of the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup last month, with her final losing a tense final to England.(PTI)

Having led India to the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup final, which her team lost agonisingly by nine runs to hosts England, skipper Mithali Raj said a lot has changed over the last 20 years, with regards to women’s cricket.

Speaking to Hindustan Times on the sidelines of the India-ASEAN Youth Summit in Bhopal, Mithali spoke of her journey as a cricketer from 1990 to present . “When I started playing cricket in 1990, it was a wonder for people. People looked down on women’s cricket as they thought that women shouldn’t be seen as playing cricket,” she said.

“When we used to travel holding a cricket kit, people used to inquire about rules and also questioned on our capability by saying that women are not strong enough to hit a boundary. Sport is sport. We continued our hard work,” she added.

Things have certainly changed since BCCI took over women’s cricket. There has been a more professional approach in recent years, and the women’s team now has a proper staff and all major facilities.

“Women’s cricket grew in stature, but we lacked in getting response from audience and increasing fan following as we didn’t really do well in ICC tournaments. We know that World Cup is the only tournament we can look up (to) because that is the only stage where we can make a difference to sport of India. We did it by showing our best performance,” said Mithali.

For Mithali, the real challenge starts now, adding that the scrutiny of performances starts only when one achieves something. “For self-growth, criticism is important and we have to remain consistent in our performance(s),” said Mithali.

Mithali also called for more television coverage of women’s cricket tournaments. “More the tournaments of women’s cricket will be televised, more the sport will grow. It is (the) best time to start preparation to introduce Women’s IPL,” said Mithali.

First Published: Aug 17, 2017 16:59 IST