Mithali wary of burn out before World Cup

“If you remember, the build-up has always been very good for us in the last couple of World Cups. This time too, we had a very good home series against the West Indies. Then, we won the Asia Cup and now, the World Cup qualifiers in Colombo. So, it is important we continue the momentum and sustain the same kind of focus,” explains 34-year-old Mithali in an exclusive chat with Sportstar.

Mithali Raj is just hoping that the side doesn’t burn out before the mega event.   -  Photo: V. Raju

Mithali Raj, captain of the Indian team which has qualified for the main edition of women’s World Cup to be held in England this June, is just hoping that the side doesn’t burn out before the mega event.

“If you remember, the build-up has always been very good for us in the last couple of World Cups. This time too, we had a very good home series against the West Indies. Then, we won the Asia Cup and now, the World Cup qualifiers in Colombo. So, it is important we continue the momentum and sustain the same kind of focus,” explains 34-year-old Mithali in an exclusive chat with Sportstar.

“It will be great if we regroup before the World Cup to sort out a few issues like doing better in the first power-play, build a strong opening partnership. The run-rate of about three per over was ok in the qualifiers. But against good sides like England and Australia in the World Cup, you need to change gear,” India’s most successful women’s cricketer ever, pointed out.

“Yes, I am really glad that the different combinations we tried in the World Cup qualifiers worked out well. Especially, in bowling, I had my own apprehensions before the start as we were without Jhulan Goswami and Smriti Mandhana. I didn’t expect our bowler to dominate so well,” says Mithali who will be playing her fifth World Cup. “I am pleased with the way Mona Meshram, Deepti Sharma, Devika Vaidya and Mansi Joshi have performed in Sri Lanka,” she said.

“I must give full credit to our very strong middle-order which invariably rose to the occasion. Yes, we need to post bigger totals in an event like World Cup to win consistently against teams like England, Australia which don’t have many weaklinks like the South Africans have,” Mithali said

“Right now, the biggest concern is not getting the opening partnerships. We will work on this and I am sure the openers will make amends in the run-up to the World Cup,” she felt.

“Definitely, we hope to have the same bunch of players who figured in the World Cup qualifiers as they are fresh from their triumph and high on confidence too,” Mithali commented.

Taking about the road ahead, the India skipper said, “In the World Cup qualifiers, the first target was to qualify for the main edition. And, once we achieved that objective, we knew that we can beat South Africa for they have no quality spin bowlers and batters who can stay through the innings.”

Mithali revealed that she was definitely disappointed to miss the final because of a muscle strain, but was delighted that team showed great spirits and nerves to win the final.

“Personally, I would just like to continue my good form with the bat into the World Cup. For that is where your performances have added value against quality opposition,” observed Mithali, who is the second highest scorer in ODI history with 5614 runs from 172 matches.

“Right now I am enjoying the game and will keep playing as I do that. There are no second thoughts in this regard as of now,” she signed off.