Practice makes a man perfect. What when it’s a woman? Well, that’s what the Indian women’s cricket team is currently doing in Bangalore: Honing their skills for the ICC World Cup that will be held in Mumbai from January 31 to February 17.
India’s captain, Mithali Raj, will be appearing in her fourth World Cup. And, it is this experience that Mithali hopes will help her to win many games for India. Mithali said from Bangalore, “As a player, I am well versed with the situation and the pressure one feels. But we need to instill confidence in other players. From 2009 to now, the team has changed, so we have a lot of women who will play the World Cup for the first time. They are feeling the pressure, but all I keep telling them is that we have to play as a team and have a positive approach.”
So does hosting the World Cup add to the pressure? “I don’t think so. We need to take one game at a time. Even the best of players can succumb to pressure. We will take it as any other one-day international and not like a World Cup match,” said the skipper.
The team’s batting has been an area of concern for Mithali. “In the World T20 last year, there were some flaws that were highlighted in our batting. But then again, the T20 format is very different to the ODIs. And, India is very good at it.”
“Also, I consider us to be a very balanced side. We can bowl, bat and field well. One can see that there has been a discipline in our bowling. We are working hard on our batting too. In fact, our line-up has become stronger by having Thirush Kamini and Karuna Jain at the top.”
The Women in Blue are aware that they cannot take England and Australia lightly.
“England and Australia are playing really well. It is also because you see them reaching the finals of most of the tournaments. But then, it’s too early to say anything. And, we have all that is required in a team to win the tournament,” said the 30-year-old.
Most cricketers have their favourite grounds, but for Mithali, the venues that fetch her runs are her favourites.
“I have no favourites as long as I score. If someone asks me, ‘which bowler I enjoy batting to?’ my response is ‘I just enjoy batting. It doesn’t matter who the bowler is’,” said Mithali, who has scored 4,490 runs in ODIs.