India must regroup quickly, says Mithali

Days after Tushar Arothe stepped down as the coach of India’s women’s team, captain Mithali Raj urged the team to move on and prepare well for the upcoming ICC World T20.

Mithali Raj at the IIMB Alumni Association's IIMBue Annual Leadership Conclave in Bengaluru on Friday.   -  Special Arrangement

Days after Indian women’s cricket witnessed a coaching change for the second time in two years, captain Mithali Raj called on the team to regroup quickly. Following a failed campaign in the Asia Cup (T20), during which India lost to Bangladesh twice, including the final, Tushar Arothe had stepped down. The decision reportedly came after relations with senior players, including captain Harmanpreet Kaur, had broken down.

“When we meet at the camp here in a week, the first thing to do is regroup,” Mithali said on the sidelines of the IIMB Alumni Association’s IIMBue Annual Leadership Conclave on Friday. “These things are part of a sportsperson’s life. You should know your priorities. You have a tour coming up. There is World Cup to prepare for. So I wouldn’t dwell on this much.”

However, this wasn’t the first time a change at the helm was effected in a less-than-ideal way. When Purnima Rau was removed in April 2017, India had less than two months left for the ICC World Cup. Now, it has just four months left before the World T20 in West Indies.

‘It’s there everywhere’

“I cannot say much,” Mithali said. “When it comes to management decisions, the BCCI is the sole authority. Why they take certain decisions, only they can answer. I wouldn’t want to divulge anything from the meeting which happened in the boardroom. But as a senior I can only see to it that whoever is coaching, I would not go against him or her. As a player, I will look up to the coach to help the team and keep it together.

“When the girls come to the camp, as an experienced player, it’s my duty to direct them towards the right goals. Such incidents do affect the team morale sometimes. I can’t say that nobody reads newspapers and that nobody is being asked. It’s there everywhere. But when you are competing at the highest level, whatever the resources, you have to make the best use of them. We have a good side. But we need to strategise better because T20 is fast-paced. You need to have all your plans in place well ahead.”

‘Need to win’

India will now embark on a limited-overs tour to Sri Lanka after the 10-day camp here and Mithali hoped for better results.

“Sri Lanka tour is very important. ODIs carry points and it is important for us to win. The five T20s will help us gain the confidence which we lost a bit after the Asia Cup. We need to win so that when we get to the World Cup we are confident and go in with a lot of positivity.”

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