Mithali confident of India's chances in T20 World Cup

Mithali Raj believes that her team has a far more settled line-up this time around for the big-ticket event.

Mithali Raj being felicitated by her coaches and mentors R.S.R. Murthy and K. John Manoj at St. John's Coaching Foundation in Hyderabad on Sunday.   -  V. V. SUBRRAHMANYAM

India’s star batter Mithali Raj believes that the team has a far more settled line-up this time around than in the previous editions for the T20 World Cup to be held in the West Indies next month.

“We have not qualified for the knock-out except in the first two editions. Given this record, it will be great if we can make it to the semi-finals this time. The best part is unlike earlier there were only two or three batters whom we had to look for big scores. Now, even if the top-order fails, we have batters who can rise to the occasion like wicketkeeper-batter Taniya (Bhatia),” Mithali says in an exclusive chat with Sportstar on Sunday before leaving for the national camp.

“We just hope to continue the momentum from the last ODI World Cup. Given the kind of fillip women’s cricket got after that showing in England, it will be great if can repeat and even better that showing,” says the star cricketer, who will be playing her fifth T-20 World Cup, after being felicitated by her mentors and coaches R.S.R. Murthy (SCR) and K. John Manoj of St. John’s Coaching Foundation.

“I am happy that I will be opening the innings in this T-20 World Cup though I am not really fond of this format. It is a different experience facing the new ball. I feel shackled when batting at No.3 in the ODIs given the different kind of responsibilities,” she said.

“Here as an opener my job is to ensure a good start and that should also mean greater freedom at the top,” Mithali explained.

“Yes, it could have been great if the scheduled three T20s against West Indies were to be on before the World Cup for that would have been the ideal preparations for any player before such a big event. But still fortunately, we are going early and play some practice games which should be okay,” she said to a query.

“Australia continues to be the best with a long line-up. New Zealand against whom India has not played much but has quite a few big hitters and it will be interesting to see how the bowlers negotiate that,” she says on other teams.

“The match against Pakistan will be good and interesting for obvious reasons and then we have Ireland. So, it is imperative for us to be consistent right through,” she concluded.