Mithali rues World Cup triumph eludes her

Mithali Raj has achieved many milestones in her two decade career but the ace India batter believes that a World Cup triumph has eluded her and she is keen to work hard to achieve it.

“Well, I think pretty much people say I have achieved everything I could as a cricketer, but I still feel that somewhere I can improve my game. I still feel that I can work hard.

“I am in the best physical health I could be as a cricketer at this juncture and we have the 2021 World Cup, so let me see if I could end up playing that World Cup because playing the World Cup is a different thing but again winning the World Cup is completely different,” Mithali told PTI in an interaction here.

“I have won Test matches, everything but one thing that eludes is a World Cup title and that is something I would like to work towards,” she added.

Mithali, who is the goodwill ambassador of Team India North, played cricket with Entertainment One’s ‘Peppa Rig’ and ‘George’ at the Oberoi mall in suburban Goregaon.

The 36-year-old also spoke about the need to play more matches and qualify for the World Cup.

“I guess play more matches… we still have a series which has ICC points (against the) West Indies and I’m not sure about the Pakistan series whether that is happening or not, that is again up to the board (BCCI).

“The points are very important for us to qualify for the World Cup. The last time when I spoke after the World Cup, even during the qualifiers (that) next time India should not be playing the qualifiers. Being the runners up, we should be in a position to have a direct entry into the World Cup so that is something as a ODI captain I am looking forward to,” she said.

The next ICC Women’s World Cup will be hosted by New Zealand in January-February 2021.

On the occasion of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s birthday, Mithali was asked what traits she would like to emulate from the former India captain and pat came the reply: “calculative approach”.

“Maybe his way of calculative approach is something I would love to (adapt)because the kind of support staff that he enjoys having in Indian men’s team obviously we as women’s team doesn’t have that kind of a support staff. But whatever little resources we have, we try to do the best that we could to help our team give results,” she explained.

A few of Mithali’s team-mates like Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur have signed up for the Kia Super League 2019 and the veteran player feels it was a positive sign for women’s cricket.

“I think it is (a positive sign). More girls end up playing these leagues, the better exposure they get and the younger players require that. Now T20 is taking over Test matches and ODIs, but I think the importance of ODIs will be retained,” said Mithali.

“Last year we had one exhibition IPL game, this year we had three teams, so if the girls keep getting exposure the standard in those games will improve and that will help the domestic players to interact better.

“We have seen Shefali Verma is a talent and it was so good to see her play so fearlessly and these are the platforms that young talent can be groomed,” she added.

As her male counterparts are just a couple of wins away from bagging the third World Cup, Mithali feels that the Indian team’s strength has been its bowling.

“As a cricketer I believe that they have a strong team, and more than batting bowling has been our strength this World Cup but having said that you can’t (predict). This is a sport and sometimes it can be deceptive also, like your team which is winning and suddenly you have one odd which you lose.

“Even against England the kind of run India had I thought they will end up beating England, so you can’t say, but as a cricketer and an Indian I would want India to reach the finals and they are the strongest contenders even today (to lift the World Cup),” she signed off.