We need to be positive against Eng: Raj
Mumbai, June 6: Reinstated as the captain of the Indian women’s cricket team, Mithali Raj looks forward to a change in the team’s fortunes. After suffering heavy defeats at the hands of the visiting Aussies, the Indian eves needs to pick themselves up as they take on England in a crucial away series later this month.
Hoping to lead from the front with the bat, the skipper believes that bowling and youth are the strengths of her side.
In a telephonic conversation with bcci.tv Mithali Raj spoke about the way forward for the team with two ICC events around the corner.
Excerpts from the interview:
On responsibility of captaincy
It is a crucial stage right now because in the last two series we have not done really well as a team and we are going to play one of the best sides in women’s cricket in difficult conditions. Difficult because English conditions are very challenging for any cricketer. It is a very precarious phase that women’s cricket is in but we are very positive that we will be moving forward because we have two major events coming-up, the ICC Women's World Twenty20 and then the one-day World Cup next year. We need to be very positive.
On what the team will be doing to regroup after the last two series defeats against West Indies and Australia
One big thing is to be more positive and stronger in our approach. It is very important because of the way we have lost in the home series against Australia and the close matches against West Indies. It is very important that the girls come out of that phase with a higher confidence level. We have to be more together and support each other because in such times it is important to be a unit.
On whether the fielding is one of the bigger concerns
Fielding has always been a concern and next [concern] is our batting. But the one thing which is very good about the Indian team is that we are a very good bowling side. So, if we could get back to getting our bowlers to being confident and then maybe sort out our batting order then I am sure things should be fine and fielding of course [needs to improve]. We have always worked on fielding. We have got an exclusive fielding coach [Munish Bali] travelling with the team. Fielding as such on a whole is not very bad but yes, in patches we are exceptionally good, and sometimes in patches we are bad. We need to have that consistency in fielding.
On the strengths of the team besides bowling as mentioned earlier
One of the strengths is that the team is full of young players. Young, not in terms of experience. In terms of experience everyone is aware of the English conditions other than debutant and the players who are making a comeback. [...]. So I wouldn’t say it is an inexperienced side but yes in terms of agility, in terms of age it is a young team.
On vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur who has also been one of the more consistent performers in the side
She has done well against Australia and [I am] hoping that she would continue to do so against England also.
On her own form
For me also, personally the series against Australia wasn’t great but I am looking forward to scoring runs against England and coming back into form against England. For me it is also very important because the World Cup is around the corner so I should be back amongst runs and secondly the team would be more confident when I am playing so I need to have the confidence of the team going.