Mithali Raj makes herself available for home T20Is against South Africa

Mithali Raj drives through cover BCCI

Mithali Raj remains committed to playing T20Is for India, making herself available for the home series against South Africa in September. However, it is unclear whether the team still has space for the 36-year-old batsman.

Mithali was at the centre of a great deal of controversy at the last T20 World Cup, where she claimed she was unfairly excluded from the XI for the semi-final, which India lost. India's coach at the time, Ramesh Powar, had said that she had gone as far as to threaten retirement if she wasn't allowed to open the innings.

Things, however, did calm down with time and she was picked for each of India's last two T20I series, against New Zealand and England. But there is increased focus on her role now with the team looking to groom players for the next T20 World Cup, which is six months from now.

"I am definitely available for the T20 series next month but, at the moment, haven't really thought about the T20 World Cup. I usually take it series by series," Mithali told PTI when asked about her plans for the shortest format.

The selectors are set to meet in Mumbai on September 5 to pick India's squad to play South Africa. That series, in Surat, will be followed by three ODIs in Baroda.

Harmanpreet Kaur led the team to the semi-final of the T20 World Cup last year. But since losing that game to England, India have hit a slump, losing each of their last six games.

"As a team, we still have a lot to catch up on the T20 format," Mithali said, "But we do have youngsters coming in and with the exposure of T20 leagues around the world they will get more experience and mature faster.

"Genetically we can't be like other teams [and power hit to victory] but we can be more smart in our planning and shot selection. We worked very hard on our fitness in the recent camp in Bangalore and you can see the girls are much fitter on the ground and that reflects in their drills."