‘Optimistic women’s cricket will be back on track soon’: Mithali Raj
Mithali Raj is excited and is confident that the mini tournament in November will also help restart women’s cricket in India. In an interview, she talks about various issues around women’s cricket due to the Covid-19 pandemic.Updated: Sep 23, 2020, 20:34 IST
With the initial success of IPL in the United Arab Emirates, focus will also be on the upcoming women’s T20 Challenge Cup there. India skipper Mithali Raj is excited and is confident that the mini tournament in November will also help restart women’s cricket in India. In an interview, she talks about various issues around women’s cricket due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With 40-odd days left for women’s challenge, how are preparations without any tournament after the T20 World Cup ended in early March?
BCCI organised a few sessions for the girls with the sports psychologist helping us through the lockdown to deal with anxiety and uncertainties. The support staff, including our coach WV Raman, has been in touch, helping us with the things we need to work on. He (Raman) has been very proactive, reaching out to me as I am the ODI team captain, planning our schedules with BCCI officials. With the women’s challenge and other series in the pipeline, the girls are toiling.
It is nice that various academies are opening up in a phased manner. The girls are able to resume cricket practice and ground training. Our trainer has been giving us assignments and we have to give regular updates on our fitness. It is slowly getting to business as usual.
BCCI is expected to name the squads (for the three-team event) and schedule in a few days. How difficult is to prepare for a tournament amid the pandemic?
There are a few difficulties but everyone in the world is facing problems adjusting to the challenges posed by the pandemic. One difficulty we face now is at small private academies, we’re not getting many bowlers to bowl in the nets because the academies are still not operating at full strength. Even with gyms, we can’t just walk in any time, but only in a time slot assigned to us. But that is for our own safety and precaution. BCCI is also working on getting the girls together for a camp. That will help them regroup and work in tandem.
The 2021 World Cup has been postponed, India’s England tour called off and there is no news of other tournaments. What do you feel about the uncertainty?
Things are looking up now. Earlier, due to the pandemic and lockdown, the girls hardly had any ground exposure and therefore it was not possible to organise a series or send the team. I can speak for the girls and everyone was ok with that because they understand the situation the world and our country is faced with. Some countries where the pandemic reached earlier, the situation is now better. Now that we have an understanding of this virus, people are learning to deal with this by taking safeguards. BCCI is trying to work out modalities with other boards to organise a couple of series. We all are optimistic that things will be on track soon.
Will a preparatory camp for the women’s T20 challenge be better in the UAE or India where Covid cases are high?
That is for BCCI to look into. Creating a bio-bubble is not an easy task and it requires a lot of effort. We are all contracted players. Wherever the camp is organised, we will be more than happy to join and regroup and get back to training.