Upcoming Sri-Lankan series "vital" in terms of preparation for World T20I, says skipper Mithali Raj
What's the story?
The Indian Women's cricket team's captain Mithali Raj apparently looks up to the upcoming Sri Lankan tour as a preparatory assignment ahead of the ICC Women's World T20I, which will begin in November.
In case you didn't know...
Post the ICC Women's World Cup that ended with India losing the finals against hosts England on June 23rd, 2017, the side was rested until late February 2018, when they participated in a South African tour, in-par with the men's side. The side won both the ODI and T20I series, after which they returned home to welcome the touring Aussie girls.
The Aussies won the resulting ODI series in a 3-0 whitewash, after which the two teams along with England women, participated in a tri-series. India's dismal show continued there as well, winning just 1 out of 4 matches. Then they played and won against England in a stand-alone series.
After this came the Asia cup, where the Indians again lost in the finals, this time to minnows Bangladesh.
The side will now tour Sri Lanka starting September, after which they will board flights to the Caribbean, where the World T20Is will be held.
Ahead of the national camp, Mithali was training under the guidance of mentor-cum-coach R.S.R. Murthy, at the St. John’s Coaching Foundation in Hyderabad, after which she chatted with The Hindu. It was evident as to how she viewed the upcoming Sri Lankan series, as she said: “It is important to regroup and get back the confidence again as the T20 World Cup is scheduled in November. In this context, the Sri Lanka series is very important.”
The Indian contingent will field two major changes – a new coach in former Indian player Ramesh Powar, and the absence of Jhulan Goswami who announced her retirement from the format a week ago.
Upon asking about Powar, Mithali expressed her belief in how the new coach will help the spinners in improving their skills, him being an off-spinner himself.
As for Jhulan's absence, she said it was unfortunate to not be able to avail the speedster's services anymore. Speaking of her own retirement, she said, “I would like to continue as long as I am fit and able to contribute to the team." She concluded by adding that it was her duty to hold on until it is ensured that a right combination can be formed in her absence as well.
Starting September 11th, India Women will play a series of 3 ODIs, followed a 5-match ODI series, against their Sri Lankan counterparts. The series gets over with the 5th ODI on September 25th.