India women’s team skipper Mithali Raj on Wednesday (February 21) opened up about the strengths and weaknesses of her team in the Twenty20 format, especially with the World T20 coming up later this year.
Mithali, who led India to the final of ICC Women's World Cup 2017, admitted that the team has taken a giant stride in international cricket in the last few years and now boasts of quite a few match-winners.
“I have always felt that the team should not be dependent on one player. A team needs to have at least four-five of them who are match-winners. I can see that we have developed that in our team now,” Raj told bcci.tv.
In order to build a strong world-class team for T20 World Cup, Mithali had purposefully did not feature in the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) earlier this year. No wonder, she is keen to clinch an ICC trophy under her captaincy and for that Mithali wants the lower-order to contribute more.
“What needs work on is the lower-order to contribute with the bat. It is not that the [top-order] batters will score the runs in every game. Yes, the top-order needs to score a bulk of the runs but sometimes, the tail needs to contribute more,” she added.
Raj also praised the top-order who have provided India with a solid platform in each of the three T20s against the Proteas women.
“We have very good batters for the T20 format. Harman and Veda [Krishnamurthy] can clear the fence. And Smriti has been consistently scoring runs in both formats,” Mithali said.
The Indian captain also highlighted the significance of slow bowlers in ICC Women's T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in West Indies.
“Spinners have a lot of work as the wickets are conducive for high-scoring contests. The team is in the the mould of preparing for the T20 World Cup,” Raj said.
Mithali also urged her troops to raise the bar with each outing since the Indian cricket fans are now following the team with keen interest.
“Since the matches are televised or live streamed, it matters what the kind of standards you set, especially in terms of fielding. It is important every player turn their thoughts more professional.”
“After South Africa, we play Australia and England, who are quality opponents. They have a lot of quality players in their side. Having done well, playing them [Australia and England] is an exciting challenge. It is important that I continue to score runs for the team,” she concluded.
Important to put our best standard of cricket for people to watch and develop that interest which we had during the World Cup - @M_Raj03, Captain India Women's ODI Team.— BCCI Women (@BCCIWomen) February 21, 2018
Watch the full interview on https://t.co/TLpNbyAHgY pic.twitter.com/AiLhg8QeqW
Watch the full interview here.