Mithali Raj lays out preparation strategy for T20 World Cup

Mithali Raj listed out lower-order batting and spin bowling as the two areas that need to be worked upon for India to become serious contenders in the 2018 T20 World Cup in November.

Mithali Raj felt the Indian women’s team no longer depended on a single player to win.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Mithali Raj listed out lower-order batting and spin bowling as the two areas that need to be worked upon for India to become serious contenders in the 2018 T20 World Cup in November.

Mithalli spoke to bcci.tv about India’s chances at the T20 World Cup in which the women’s team has a dismal record. “T20 World Cup is a different format from the one-day format, and the team has a lot to work on in T20s. We've been doing well in the last two games against South Africa. There's still work to do in preparation of the World Cup, but the team looks good, with the kind of top-order batting we have."

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“We have good T20 batters in terms of Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy who can really clear. Smriti has been scoring consistently in these formats; youngster Pooja Vastrakar has been doing well with Jhulan Goswami. Shikha Pandey is an experienced campaigner,” she said.

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Mithali Raj, India’s ODI captain, also delved into the areas of improvement for the T20 team: “A lot of work is needed in terms of our spin. The wickets are batter-friendly and more conducive for high scoring, so the spinners have a lot more to work on. And the lower order needs to contribute with the bat, because not in every game will the top-order score runs. Yes, we definitely want the batters to score the bulk of the runs, but sometimes, in some games, the tail needs to contribute more.”

Mithali felt the Indian women’s team no longer depended on a single player to win. “The team should never be dependent on one player. We should have four to five players who can carry the team along and can win matches. For a long time, India didn't have that. Now I can see that we have developed few players who are match winners. This year we have a lot of series in the T20 format including the World Cup.

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“I want the team to do well in the T20 format. We have not done well in this format whether in the world cups or bilateral series. It is something I am looking forward to doing this year.”

While talking about improvements that were needed, she was also critical of her own performance. “I'm not really satisfied as such. I could have done well in the one-dayers and I am looking to continue to be more consistent in the T20 format.

“We have Australia and England coming up after the South Africa series, so that's going to be a very important series because they are quality oppositions and have far more quality players. We're playing them at home. India has just won the one-day series, we've done well in the T20s; we're yet to seal the series. Knowing we have done well in ODIs, playing Australia and England at home is going to be challenging because they are very good sides and a lot of experience comes with them, and it's important that I continue to score runs for the team.”