Mithali Raj says India women's team can be a surprise element in World T20 2018

Women's World T20 will be played in November this year.

India women's cricket team | Twitter

Mithali Raj is positive about India women's team performance in the upcoming ICC Women's World T20. Raj thinks India can be a surprise element in the tournament which will be held in November.

Recently, the India women's team scripted history as they beat South Africa women by 54 runs in the fifth and final T20I to register a double series win on the South African tour.

Led by Harmanpreet Kaur, India were too good for the South Africa women's team. They outclassed the Dane van Niekerk-led team, bowling them out for 112 to lift the T20 series trophy by a margin of 3-1 in the five-match series.

"The team still requires a lot of hard work in a lot of areas when it comes to the T20 format. We have been very good in the one-day format, but the way the girls have responded to this format in South Africa, I think there is a lot of scope that we can be a surprise element in the World T20," Raj, 35, told ESPN Cricinfo.

"Now people back home are keen to watch on television, they want to know what the Indian women's team is doing in South Africa. 

"It is just unfortunate the one-dayers weren't televised but I am happy the T20s were televised and we have given a very good result. So, getting back home, we have the tri-series against Australia and England, which is again going to be televised so I am hoping all of you will get glued to the TV and start cheering for India," the veteran batswoman added.

The veteran cricketer revealed that having reliable batswomen around helped sharing her burden. After Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy, India has found a new pillar. The 17-year old Jemimah Rodrigues looked promising in the recently concluded South Africa tour.  

"Yes, that has helped my batting, knowing that the team is not completely dependent on me," she said. 

"I can at times take that initiative to try out a few strokes in the middle, without getting bothered if I get out. I am very happy that we have more than one or two match-winners in the squad. That makes it a very strong squad."

Raj, who scored most runs (192) in the T20I series against South Africa, said she isn't a fan of T20. 

"Honestly, I am not someone who is very fond of the T20 format. But since I am preparing for the T20 World Cup, it was important for me to start scoring runs in this format to gain that momentum. I am very happy that this series has given me that confidence that I can be a T20 player.

"It is a conscious effort to turn my game so that I can get used to the T20 format because as an opener it is important that I have all-round shots and also see that aerial route, because the first six overs are crucial so you can give a start to the team."

The 2018 ICC Women's World Twenty20 will be hosted in the West Indies from 9 to 24 November 2018. India had reached Semi Final in first two World T20 (2009 and 2010). But they have a poor record in last three World T20s. They got eliminated from Group Stage in 2012, 2014 and 2016. 


By Sihyeu Singh - 26 Feb, 2018

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