Cricket - Featured - September 28, 2019

Mithali Raj says it’s going to be the last chance at the World Cup in 2021

The 36-year-old is the leading run-scorer in women’s ODI, with 6720 runs with an average of 51.29; she has also been a star at the World Cups, with an average of 54.23 from 31 games in five tournaments. Mithali Raj recently called a day from the T20Is. She is still the captain of the Indian women’s ODI team, and she has captained India in more World Cups than anyone else.

Team India has reached the finals of the World Cup twice (in 2005 and 2017) under her captaincy. She has the vision and motivation to win the Glory of the World Cup in 2021. Being retired from the shortest form of the game is not yet done with top-flight cricket, and wants one ‘ last chance ‘ at the biggest cricket prize.

“I wanted to give myself another go at the World Cup,” says Mithali Raj

Indian skipper Mithali Raj spoke to Mumbai Mirror on the sidelines of a promotional event in Mumbai on Thursday where she talked about a factor which has motivated her to think about and set a goal of winning the World Cup in 2021. She acknowledges the fact where India could not go one step further in the two chances which they had in the past.

She would be 38 at the time of the 2021 World Cup, and it will surely be her last one, and given the high stakes, she wants to give herself another push so that she can fulfil the Indian dream and claim the title that the blues missed a few times.

“This is the last chance I would have. I wanted to give myself another go at the World Cup and win the title that has eluded the Indian team and me for a couple of times,” said Mithali Raj.

Previously, there wouldn’t be a lot of ODI series in women’s cricket, but now things have changed, and there is a progressive improvement in women’s cricket, which has begun to create more audiences for the game, and most of all, now players don’t need to worry about losing form because they have a lot of series to play which will help them keep up their momentum ahead of the big tournament.

“Whereas now you have back-to-back series so any player who is in good form can continue it. Any player who is struggling for form also knows that there is another series they can get,” added Mithali Raj.

There will be criticism but, one should not get disheartened because of it. Back in the day when Mithali started her career, there wasn’t much of media coverage now the things are changed. Players to adapt to the new environment and it will take some time. These criticisms and all the media buzz is a part of the sports now. There needs to be an effort to put women’s sports on the map where should be eager to witness it.

“See I have come from a generation where we did not have much of media coverage, to a time when we are scrutinised for everything, whatever we say or do. Initially, it took a while to adjust. But I have come to realise that it is part of the sport now,” she said.  “It cannot be all good. There will be criticism. There will be people who will not like it. But at the end of the day, if you are very clear as to what your priority is, it gives clarity in your mind.”

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