ICC Women's World Cup: India skipper Mithali Raj says spinners will be vital to team's success

PTI, Jun, 11 2017

Mumbai: Mithali Raj, Indian women's team's skipper, said that the team would be banking on its spinners in the ICC World Cup, even though the event is being played in England and Wales and her team is armed with three medium pacers.

"Honestly everybody prefers to have extra fast bowlers in the side. But India have always banked on spinners, irrespective of the wicket. Whether in Australia, South Africa (or elsewhere), spinners have done exceptionally well. The three fast bowlers have also been doing well in the past two series," Mithali told reporters in Mumbai on the eve of the team's departure.

ICC Women's World Cup 2017 will held in England & Wales from 24 June - 23 July.

File photo of Mithali Raj. Getty Images

File photo of Mithali Raj. Getty Images

The first aim of the team, which has practiced here in the Bandra-Kurla Complex of the Mumbai Cricket Association, in its quest to lift the Cup is to reach the semi-finals, said Mithali, who is the main batter.

"We definitely want to win the World Cup. It is a great platform to show the kind of cricket the girls have been playing for the past couple of years," said 34-year-old Mithali.

"The format is different this time in this edition. It's a league-cum-knock out and is a long tour. I want the girls to take it one match at a time. Our first step would be to get into the semis," said Mithali who, along with all rounder Jhulan Goswami (34), is the most experienced of the lot.

"We are experienced players and we share our experience with the players. Now that it is the World Cup, a few seniors are aware of the pressure. We can be there for the juniors during the pressure situations. As senior players we can be around them," she said.

Rains have affected the ongoing ICC men's Champions Trophy in England and could play spoilsport in the women's World Cup too.

Asked about the weather being a factor, Mithali said in such situations the toss could become crucial.

"Weather is definitely an important factor in English conditions. We will see and analyse the weather report on a particular match day, whether there are chances of rain or not and accordingly chalk out our team plan. It's early summer there and chances of rain are very much there, so toss is going to play a very important role.

"We will see how we shuffle our batting order. And wickets are also important. But I am not able to say right now how we are going to prepare in those conditions. We have already witnessed (in the men's Champions Trophy) how teams are posting 300-plus targets in good sunlight conditions. We will also hope to get such days for our matches," she said.

Team's coach Tushar Arothe expressed happiness at the preparation of the unit and was of the opinion that the fielding has improved.

"When I took over as a fielding coach in 2009 we started doing fielding drills regularly. Over a period of time they have improved. Against Bangladesh we won a couple of matches with our good fielding. Similarly in South Africa we took some brilliant catches as well as earned some wickets through run-outs. So I am hoping we will do well (in fielding) in the World Cup too".

The team will reach UK a week prior to the official warm-up matches(starting on 19 June). They will train at Loughborough MCC University and play a practice match against the England women on 13 June before heading to Derbyshire for a camp.

The team will be based in Derby and play two warm-up games against New Zealand (19 June) and Sri Lanka (21 June).

Squad: Mithali Raj (Captain), Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Mona Meshram, Punam Raut, Deepti Sharma, Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Ekta Bisht, Sushma Verma, Mansi Joshi, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Nuzhat Parveen, Smriti Mandhana.

Published Date: Jun 11, 2017 | Updated Date: Jun 11, 2017

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4493 125
2 South Africa 3395 110
3 England 4097 105
4 Australia 3087 100
5 New Zealand 3114 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 South Africa 5957 119
2 Australia 5505 117
3 India 4717 115
4 England 5645 113
5 New Zealand 5123 111
Rank Team Points Rating
1 New Zealand 1625 125
2 England 1962 123
3 Pakistan 2417 121
4 West Indies 2222 117
5 India 2183 115