Former Indian captain Mithali Raj has said that she wants to try one last time to bring the World Cup trophy to India in 2021.
Speaking to Sanja Manjrekar for ESPNCricinfo, the veteran batsman said that she is looking forward to the 2021 World Cup. “I need to keep myself motivated for 2021. I just want people to continue to support women’s cricket,” she said.
Mithali announced her retirement from the shortest format September last year to focus on her One Day International career. The World Cup trophy has evaded her twice in the last moment. She was a part of the team the lost the finals in both 2005 and 2017.
She spoke about the pressure of playing the finals as India recently lost in the T20 World Cup as well. “When it comes to the final, there are nerves,” said Raj. “Both the final, the first steps we put were very shaky. In 2017 final, we lost the first wicket in the second over. In, 2020 T20 World Cup final, Deepti (Sharma) was given the first over, she bowled a couple of full-tosses.”
Mithali is a very different batter from the likes of Smriti Mandhana or Shefali Verma. Her role was to place the ball in the gaps and make the most out of it. In the era she played in strike rate was not a huge concern like it is now. “When I started, I was an opener.” Mithali Raj reasoned about her style of batting. “In my second series, the 2000 World Cup, I batted No. 3 and the strike rate was good at that time because I did not have the burden of carrying the team around me. But after that from being someone who could score 50 off 40 balls, I became someone who would start slowly.”
“No matter whichever level I played, it has always been like that because the team’s plan was that. I can’t deviate from that plan because the team wanted me to play in that way. With that kind of approach, I started scoring more runs. My role has been that for a long time. I think I was chained to a certain kind of role throughout my career.”