India Women’s cricket icon Mithali Raj has picked the four-time champions Australia as the favorite contender for the upcoming ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 starting Friday (February 21) with the hosts taking India Women in Sydney.
However, the former India T20I captain said Women in Blue will be no pushovers as they have some very talented players at their ranks in the tournament while predicting the tournament opener will be a very close and high-scoring game between the hosts and India Women.
Mithali wrote in her column for the ICC, “The gap between the top and bottom teams is closing. You can't go by the practice matches alone, but it does give you a rough indication of how the tournament could play out. Take Sri Lanka beating England for example - there is a possibility that could happen again. Australia goes in as favorites, but India will be no pushover.”
On the tournament opener, she added: “They have some very talented players and I think it will be a very close, high-scoring game. In the T20 format, you can't really predict a winner because it all depends on how the main players perform on that particular day.”
She also noted the change in the perception of women's cricket since the time that she started her career, adding: “Back in my day, we only had male players as inspiration because that's all we used to see on the television. Today a young girl can have a role model in the form of a female cricketer and I think that's the biggest change I have seen.”
Raj signed off by saying, “A lot has changed since I was playing in the ICC Women's T20 World Cup. The biggest difference is people are now aware of what's going on with their national team. When I broke the world record for the highest individual Test score in 2002, people didn't know about it unless they were going out to buy the newspapers.”
(With ICC inputs)