The Indian women’s team will be back into action, seven months after their stupendous showing in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017. The Indian eves had reached the final, only to lose out on becoming champions by a whisker.
Now they face South Africa in a series of three ODIs, which will also be a first round fixture of the ICC Women’s Championship. Kimberley will be the venue of the ODIs on February 5 and 7, while the series will finish in Potchefstroom on February 10.
The series will also give chance to both teams to qualify directly for the 2021 ICC Women’s World Cup.
Talking before the first ODI, Indian captain Mithali Raj said, “Every match will be scrutinised by people, by the critics, by everybody, because now people have seen the actual standard of women’s cricket and the Indian team.”
“So, yes, from now on whatever matches that we get to play, will be closely watched by all of them (and) followed by all the cricket fanatic people in our country as well as around the world,” she added.
“I am eager to get back to playing international cricket. It has been a while since the World Cup and the South Africa tour will be the first once since. It is good to play against good sides in challenging conditions because it gets the best out of a side which is trying to improve,” she said on being asked about her preparations.
South Africa team had defeated India by 115 runs in the WWC 2017 league stages and South African captain Dane van Niekerk said, “I cannot believe it’s already been six months, feels like yesterday. It’s honestly still very raw for me personally, I think it’ll be for a while. I’m sure for most of our players it’s the same.”
Talking about the importance of the ICC Women’s Championship, Mithali said, “It is important to get points under our belt, so the three ODIs are going to be very important because it is a fresh start to the ICC Women’s Championship.We definitely are looking forward to being in the top four, so that we get a direct entry; that’s our aim. But to get there I think it is important that we get as many points as we can.”
“For us, the build-up and preparations for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2021 starts in South Africa. The more ODIs we will play in these two-three years, the more they will give a sense of how the players and the team are shaping,” she added.
Mithali continued, “For us, the build-up and preparations for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2021 starts in South Africa. The more ODIs we will play in these two-three years, the more they will give a sense of how the players and the team are shaping.”
“I think the first thing is definitely that the bowlers need to bat. That is something I would consider very important. I would want all my bowlers to contribute (with the bat) in the lower-order,” Mithali concluded.