Unflustered by bilateral results, India focused on peaking at World Cup

Skipper Mithali Raj confident of team combinations for the early stages of the tournament.

Published: 26th February 2022 08:51 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th February 2022 08:55 PM   |  A+A-

Team India captain Mithali Raj sounds confident ahead of the World Cup

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Sixteen matches, 4 wins, 12 losses with a win-loss ratio of 0.33 is not the record any team would want to have in the 12 months leading up to the ODI World Cup. But, that is the kind of year the women's team, led by Mithali Raj, have had since they returned for the first time after the pandemic struck.

However, despite losing all the four series they have played since 2021, Mithali is not too worried about team combinations going into the global event. And that’s telling because, even after every defeat in the recent New Zealand series, the coach and players seemed unflustered, almost as if they knew what was going behind the scenes, with results being inconsequential.

While taking the positives from the bilateral series, India is not affected by the losses. 

"In bilaterals, we can get our takeaways, but in the World Cup, we play each and every team. Results are important for self-confidence, but momentum is key and it is important to peak at the right time in the World Cup," Mithali said in the pre-tournament press conference on Saturday.

Among the eight teams that are taking part in the World Cup, India has handed debuts to the most number of players in the last year: ten. Although there could be various reasons for it, a few of the debutants have played consistently since and even booked a place in the flight for New Zealand ahead of some of the senior pros.

“The talent that we've got in the last year… most of them have shown that they have the ability to play at this level like Richa (Ghosh), Shafali (Verma), we have Meghna Singh in the seamers and Pooja Vastrakar. They all have been given good game time and those series have really helped them and me as a captain to find out where they fit in into the composition of the team,” she added.

The runners-up from the previous edition have retained a core group of players from 2017, as many as seven of them, along with some young players, who’ve brought in a fresh approach in the 50-over format. 

"Most of them, even the young players who recently got into the side, had the opportunity of playing in (T20) leagues. When you go into big events, you depend on experience, not just young players. Having both together is a good mix,” said the 39-year-old, who will be playing in her sixth ODI World Cup.

Going into the marquee event with some inexperience in the pace attack, India seems to be putting together one piece at a time with respect to team combinations during the New Zealand series. With batting coming good in that series, Mithali is confident of the eleven they are looking to field in the early stages. 

"The bowling unit took a bit of time. I definitely know my playing composition for the first couple of games and I look forward to giving game time to all the core players during the warm-ups and also to those players who will get an opportunity at some point in the World Cup."

India will play South Africa on Sunday and West Indies on Tuesday in warm-up matches before taking on Pakistan in their first match of the event on March 6.


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