Women's cricket needs longer domestic season, says Mithali Raj

The 34-year-old is also open to featuring in the Women's Big Bash League in Australia but only after the ICC Women's World Twenty20 in 2018.

Mithali Raj: "If we have more India ‘A’ and under-23 tours, more players will be exposed to different conditions."   -  G.P. Sampath Kumar

Indian women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj believes that the national team will benefit from playing more international fixtures. As it stands now, the side will not be seen in action until the second edition of the ICC Women’s Championship. The dates for this tournament have not been made official yet.

“It will be good if we can increase the number of international matches. Our immediate focus is on the domestic season, which begins in December. The ICC Championship might start next year. There are also talks about a bi-lateral series with South Africa some time next year, but this has not been confirmed yet,” Mithali said, at a Zeven event here on Sunday.

Mithali also stressed on the need for a longer domestic season. “The domestic games go on for only about two months. This should be extended, which will encourage more girls to take up the sport. Seasoned players will also be able to stay match-fit,” she said.

Creating a larger pool of talent would be ideal, the Indian captain explained. “Women’s cricket is not as big as men’s cricket, in terms of the number of players available for selection. The men’s game is spoilt for choice in this aspect. The women’s second string is not as strong. If we have more India ‘A’ and under-23 tours, more players will be exposed to different conditions. This will make them ready for international cricket, when they get picked," Mithali stated.

Asked if she would like to compete in the Women's Big Bash League in Australia, she replied, “If I play the Women’s BBL, foreign players will get the chance to see my game and make plans to counter it when I play the ICC Women's World Twenty20 (to be held in November 2018). I don’t mind featuring in the Women's BBL after the T20 World Cup.”

The 34-year-old, who enjoyed a stellar run in India’s runner-up campaign at the recent ICC Women’s 50-over World Cup, believes that she has a few more years of top-quality cricket left in her. “I’m fit, and I’ve been in good form. I will play as long as I contribute to the team. I want to play for as long as I can,” she said.