Indian cricket December 3, 2008

Raj seeks help from Tendulkar and Dhoni

Cricinfo staff

Mithali Raj: "Advice of all the senior players of the men's cricket team would be helpful for us because they belong to a different league altogether" © Getty Images

India women's batsman Mithali Raj is keen on getting tips from Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and believes the suggestions may prove valuable as the team gears up for the Women's World Cup in Australia next year.

"The level at which they play, their opinion would be significant for us," Raj told PTI-Bhasha. "If I get a chance I would love to take some tips from Sachin about my batting".

"I want to take some tips from Dhoni on leading the side in big tournaments. Advice of all the senior players of the men's cricket team would be helpful for us because they belong to a different league altogether."

With no international matches scheduled ahead of the World Cup in March, the Indian women's team will rely on domestic games and training camps in the next three months to get them match-fit for the tournament. India will play Pakistan in the opening match on March 7.

India lost 0-5 away to Australia in October and November, a result which followed a 0-4 mauling in a five-match contest in England in August-September. Raj was the highest run-scorer for India in both the series and finished top of the overall run charts in England. But she lost the captaincy to Jhulan Goswami for the Australia series following the disappointment in England.

Raj underlined the positives of the one-day series in Australia and believed the tour had given India a chance to get familiar with conditions. "Some of the World Cup matches will be played at one of those venues, so that will help," she said.

She said the onus would be on the top order to put pressure on the opponents, something she had pointed out after the tour of England. "The batting order has to fire if we have to perform well. The openers would have to give a good start so that the middle order do not get under pressure. It would be too much to ask the lower order to bail out the team from crisis situation."

She also said the bowling remained a key area of concern, which hardly looked penetrative in the two previous series. "As far as bowling is concerned, Goswami needs a good strike partner at the other end," she said. "We failed in getting early wickets and that was the reason behind our recent defeat. We will be doing something about it keeping the World Cup in mind."

Raj, who also has a double-hundred to her credit in Test cricket, rued the lack of opportunity to play the longer version. "We play too many ODIs, sometimes we even forget when we last played a Test," she said. "This is because perhaps there are no spectators for women's cricket".