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Girls Aloud

High stakes, high expectations

It has been quite an up-and-down year for the team as well as for me personally but now we need to regroup and look ahead to the World Cup in Australia

Mithali Raj
25-Feb-2013


It has been quite an up-and-down year for the team as well as for me personally but now we need to regroup and look ahead to the World Cup in Australia. I believe our performance in Australia, despite the 0-5 scoreline was better than the one in England. A few of us managed to get runs on the grounds that we will be playing our World Cup matches on.
We have a fair idea of Australian conditions and Australian bowlers which will help us in preparing for the tournament. Australia tried out quite a few young players against us and I have to say none of them played like debutants. Even the Under-21 players played some tough cricket. There is hardly any difference between domestic and international sides while touring Australia. We would do really well to learn from their fighting spirit and don’t-give-an-inch attitude.
In fact I have seen a lot of youngsters in our domestic season this year who have the right attitude for the international level. They don’t worry about names when they play and I appreciate that. I believe there need be no undue respect on the field for star players.
The Australian tour was also the first in three years that I was not captain of the Indian team. But I can honestly tell you it did not affect my playing. I continued to bat in the same position and fulfill the responsibilities that come with being a senior player.
I hope we rediscover our mojo by the time the World Cup starts. The team that reached the 2005 final had been playing together for two years and had really gelled well on and off the field. I’d say that was key to our success then.
One setback we have faced in our preparation this time is that we are playing two-day cricket before heading to Australia. Our 50-over matches were completed earlier and that means we go to the World Cup not having had enough opportunities to practice our one-day shots. What would have been ideal are more tournaments like the Challenger Series – where the level of competition is not skewed.
I am now heading to Bangalore for a camp for the World Cup probables. The final squad is expected to be announced on January 31. This year will be a big one for women’s cricket with two World Cups. We have a chance to raise the game’s profile and an opportunity to make a mark and give the BCCI good reason to extend more facilities to women.