Anjum Chopra named India women's captain
Anjum Chopra has been appointed captain of the India women's team after being out of international cricket for nearly two years. She will lead the team on their tour of the West Indies in February and March, taking over from Jhulan Goswami, who has been captain since 2008. Chopra, a left-hand top-order batsman, last captained India in February 2003, and has been in and out of the side since 2007.
"I'm humbled by the faith shown in me," Chopra said. "But it comes with a lot of responsibility. Leading the side anywhere is a challenge."
Chopra's recall comes after India finished bottom of the table in both the ODIs and Twenty20 internationals in the NatWest Women's Quadrangular series in England last summer. They will play five Twenty20 games, with the first on February 18, and three ODIs in the West Indies and Chopra said the focus would be on preparing for the Women's World Twenty20, in September 2012 in Sri Lanka, and the Women's ODI World Cup, which will be played in India in 2013.
"The first target is the West Indies tour. Then we all know there are World Cups both home and away coming up. We're moving towards that. This tour provides us with the perfect chance to go out there and work on our shortcomings ahead of the T20."
The make-up of the team has changed since Chopra was last captain - the current India coach, Anju Jain, was once her opening partner - but she said it would not feel strange returning to the role. "The only difference would be that the woman sitting next to me [Jain] was once my fellow opener but now she dons a different role. Back then Jhulan and Mithali [Raj] just about got into the team, but now things have changed."
Chopra has supplemented her cricket career with television appearances - she was a pundit on the IPL's official pre and post-match shows in 2011. She said, however, that she never stopped focussing on playing. "I've never been away from cricket. I've never forgotten the fact that I'm doing commentary because I'm a cricketer. I never went away from playing the sport. Since I've been doing television for almost 10 years, people think I've retired. 'You're still playing?' they ask. I don't know why that happens. And I can't be worried about what people think."
When West Indies toured India in January 2011, both the ODI and Twenty20 series went down to the last game, with India winning the ODIs 3-2 and the Twenty20s 2-1. Chopra said she anticipated another hard battle. "It's definitely going to be a good series. Last time, when they were here, the games were pretty close. West Indies have improved a lot in the last year or so. There will be good competition."