Women need more Tests - Mithali
Mithali Raj, the India Women captain, wants more Test cricket in the women's game as it is the "ultimate challenge". Raj was responding to a question on the comments made by former captain Diana Edulji to ESPNcricinfo about the BCCI's approach to women's cricket. When asked later what difference the board's takeover of the women's game had made, Raj listed better facilities and access to support staff as major gains.
"I definitely haven't read the article but yes, people spoke to me about it," Raj said. "I think once we are into the World Cup, I don't want to think about what has happened because this is a very significant event. As a player and as a captain, I definitely want to have all positive vibes around me."
Edulji had pointed to the lack of Test cricket in the women's game as a hindrance to player development. Raj said playing Test matches was "very important". "As a youngster, I played a lot of days games which helped me build my temperament," Raj said. "I definitely feel that Tests are very important. Once you are a good Test player, you can adapt to Twenty20 and one-day games. Ultimate challenge is definitely the Test game."
With the BCCI taking over women's cricket in India, the domestic season was now "well-organised", Raj said. "We get to play some domestic tournaments in international venues. That itself is a big motivating factor for youngsters and for state players. And our access to the NCA. Being in a sport, there are bound to be injuries. If you are taken care of by professional physios and trainers, you get a lot of knowledge being under them. That has helped these youngsters to get awareness about their own bodies and how to cope with international cricket.
"When we started, we did not have a video analyst. Now we have one for every tour, we get our feedbacks, we study our own game and that itself is a big thing for these players. I don't even have a recording of my own world record. But now I have some of my one-day innings which are good enough and I can repeatedly see them on television. We have a physio and a trainer along with us who help in keeping the girls fit."
Despite being one of the top women players in the world for many years now, Raj said people still didn't know her by face. "I think more often people relate to me by my name. If I get introduced then they're like, 'yeah, you're a woman cricketer,' but because I'm not very often on television people don't recognise me by my face, but definitely by my name."
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo