Mithali: Time to bring focus back on cricket

The selectors have reposed their faith on Mithali Raj who retains her place in the T20 squad and ODI captaincy for next month’s tour to New Zealand.

India women's cricket team ODI captian Mithali Raj was left out of the squad in the World T20 semifinal against England.   -  AP

The Indian women’s ODI team captain Mithali Raj said it is time to shift focus back to cricket as controversies are detrimental to the sport.

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Mithali, who has been retained as the national ODI captain ahead of the upcoming tour to New Zealand, termed the controversy emanating from her letter to the BCCI on being dropped from the World T20 semifinal against England as something that does not come in “the list of priorities of a professional cricketer”.

“When 15 individual players come together with the support staff, the whole team becomes a huge family. And in a family there can be differences of opinion as everyone does not have the same kind perspective,” she said during her visit to the city to receive an award for her contribution to women’s cricket.

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“But when we take to the field as the national team, as the ambassadors of the sport, these issues are secondary… Not even secondary, these issues do not come in the list of priorities. As professional athletes or cricketers, we know we have a job to do once on the field."

“Now that we have a tour ahead, it is time we look forward and move forward and try to be more optimistic and positive,” Mithali said while refusing to comment on the talk about her differences with T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur.

“The last few days have been very stressful for me and my parents because of the way it (the controversy) panned out. It got women’s cricket under the spotlight, something which was not needed. When you talk about non-cricketing issues related to the team, the focus goes away from the sport,” she said.

Looking to work under the new coach W.V. Raman, Mithali said that the coach needs to be supported to build a good team. "I did not get much time to speak to him but as the coach, we need to support him and look forward to lifting the team's performance," she said.