We’ll play positive cricket: Mithali
Mumbai, June 20: Skipper Mithali Raj and her side worked hard in the nets in Mysore ahead of the Indian women’s tour to England including five ODIs and two T20Is. After a poor show against Australia and West Indies, the women’s team is looking to get back their stride ahead of the T2O World Cup later this year in Sri Lanka.
Skipper Mithali addressed the media in Mumbai before leaving for the England tour.
Excerpts from the press conference:
On the team’s preparation
We had a preparation camp in Mysore and we emphasised match practice. We played a lot of one-day and T20 matches there. The preparation has gone very well.
On the challenge of captaining a side which has been in poor form
The last series against Australia was not so good. The English conditions are tough for all cricketers but this is a challenge for us. In the practice sessions we have played some good matches against boys so we will have that confidence with us while touring England. I wouldn’t say that we will win or something like that, but I can certainly say that we will play good and positive cricket. The World Cup is coming up and then there is the Asia Cup ahead so we have to remain positive. If we play good cricket, we will gain confidence and go into the World Cup with good preparation [behind us].
On the English conditions
They are challenging conditions for cricketers; we are going during the summer. Last year we played the quadrangular around the same period so we had to endure some unexpected rains. So yes, it is going to be challenging. I have played a lot of matches against England, a lot of tournaments there, so I am sure the experience [will help the side]. Also, most of the girls have experienced English conditions so it is not an inexperienced side. But yes, it is a young side. I am looking forward to the series.
On ODIs and T20s, rather than Test matches, being the dominant format in women’s cricket
The T20 format is more popular now due to which there is also a T20 World Cup. So all [cricket] boards want their teams to play more T20s and one-day matches [and] so the number of Test matches in women’s cricket has probably reduced.
On the last time she played a Test match
That was way back in 2006; it has been six years. We do miss playing Test matches but now there is a huge gap [since the last time I played]. If you ask me to play a Test match now, it’s definitely going to be a difficult [prospect]. The way we prepare for Test matches is different from the one-dayers and T20s.
On the Olympics stealing the public’s attention from their upcoming tour
We are not going there to entertain people. It is an important series for us because we have to look forward to the forthcoming World Cup. Even if the [public’s] focus is on the Olympics, our focus is on the series and cricket. If we win and return, the focus here will be on women’s cricket.
On the conditions in which they prepared for the series
Fortunately in Mysore, the first few days the conditions were overcast and there was rain too. It was pretty much [like] English conditions. We have played two or three games and that should help us [in the series].
On whether the team had studied the opposition players
Yes, we have studied some of them. They recently toured New Zealand so we have seen some of the matches and gone through the scores as well.
On faltering in the ODI World Cup and faring better in the T20 World Cup
We have reached the semi-final in the one-day format too. In 2009 in Australia, we beat Australia twice and we were [in] third [place]. In the World Cup we have reached the semi-final stages most of the time and we have gone further up only once. [But] I am sure this time, [since] the team has got so many series to play [ahead of the World Cup] – we toured the West Indies and played Australia at home and now we are touring England – the young players will learn. Maybe by the forthcoming World Cup they will be well prepared. The World Cup is in Asia so the conditions are in our favour too. I am sure it will be a better performance this time.
On whether the team can adjust to playing in England and then coming back to play the World Cup in the subcontinent
We are professional cricketers so we should be able to acclimatise to the conditions quickly. English conditions are not ideal preparation but if we play our matches in good stadiums and grounds, the conditions don’t matter so much [...] Everywhere international wickets are batsman-friendly. [That] should help the players. We should not find it that different to come back and play the World Cup in Sri Lanka.