Mithali Raj keeping herself fit for future engagements

Forced to stay at home due to the COVID19 crisis, Mithali is keeping herself busy through trips down memory lane and some fitness drills.

In this picture taken on October 18, 2019, Mithali Raj relaxes at the St. John’s Coaching Foundation in Hyderabad. Mithali has been home for more than a week for the first time in her career.   -  V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a ‘forced break’ for athletes across the world and it is no different for one of India’s best-ever women cricketers, Mithali Raj.

“I have been following the developments on social media. These are dangerous times, but I do feel a sense of pride that India is much better off than most countries hit by it,” Mithali said in a chat with Sportstar here on Sunday.

The 37-year-old Mithali, the leading ODI run-getter in women’s cricket, is at home for more than a week for the first time in her illustrious career spanning 21 years. She has been digging into her treasure house of mementos, trophies and India jerseys to rekindle memories of memorable feats in a brilliant career.

‘Keeping fit’

“Other than the trips down memory lane, I am also doing some basic exercises to keep fit as all gyms are closed. I am doing everything to be mentally and physically fit once this virus is eradicated and we are back on the field,” says Mithali.

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“But for the pandemic there would have been some serious moves towards organising a women’s IPL,” she said.

Mithali also has some suggestions for the women’s IPL. Six foreign players should be permitted per team, she said. Unlike in men’s cricket, women’s teams might find it difficult to find capable domestic players to form the team if only four foreigners were allowed, she said. “I strongly believe you need to start somewhere and it is high time we came up with a women’s IPL.”

Interest

The massive response to the T20 World Cup final in Melbourne showed there was great interest in women’s cricket, she said.

“It was an unforgettable experience. The atmosphere was unbelievable and the crowd response matched men’s cricket in terms of not just attendance but the passion with which they supported the finalists — India and Australia,” said Mithali, who was there as ICC ambassador.

“Like all other sports bodies, the ICC has been forced to reschedule many events. We were supposed to play the World Cup (50-over) qualifiers in Sri Lanka this June, then tour England this July-August. But, given the grim battle against the virus, everything will go for a toss,” she concluded.

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