Indian women’s team’s skipper, Mithali Raj, on Saturday said that the team would be banking on its spinners in the ICC World Cup, starting later this month, even though the event is being played in England and Wales and her team is armed with three medium pacers.
“Honestly everybody prefers to have extra fast bowlers in the side. But India have always banked on spinners, irrespective of the wicket. Whether in Australia, South Africa (or elsewhere), spinners have done exceptionally well. The three fast bowlers have also been doing well in the past two series,” Mithali told reporters here on the eve of the team’s departure.
ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 will held in England & Wales from June 24 - July 23. The first aim of the team, which has practised here in the Bandra-Kurla Complex of the Mumbai Cricket Association, in its quest to lift the Cup is to reach the semi-finals, said Mithali, who is the main batter.
“We definitely want to win the World Cup. It is a great platform to show the kind of cricket the girls have been playing for the past couple of years,” said 34-year-old Mithali.
“The format is different this time in this edition. It’s a league cum knock out and is a long tour. I want the girls to take it one match at a time. Our first step would be to get into the semis,” said Mithali who, along with all rounder Jhulan Goswami (34), is the most experienced of the lot.
“We are experienced players and we share our experience with the players. Now that it is the World Cup, a few seniors are aware of the pressure. We can be there for the juniors during the pressure situations. As senior players we can be around them,” she said.
Rains have affected the conduct of the ongoing ICC men’s Champions Trophy in England and could play spoil sport in the women’s World Cup too. Asked about the weather being a factor, Mithali said in such situations the toss could become crucial.
“Weather is definitely an important factor in English conditions. We will see and analyse weather report on a particular match day, whether there are chances of rain or not and accordingly chalk out team plan. It’s early summer there and chances of rain are very much there, so toss is going to play a very important role.
“We will see how we shuffle our batting order. And wickets are also important. But I am not able to say right now how we are going to prepare in those conditions. We already have witnessed (in the men’s Champions Trophy) how teams are posting 300-plus targets in good sunlight conditions. We will also hope to get such days for our matches,” she said.
Team’s coach Tushar Arothe expressed happiness at the preparation of the unit and was of the opinion that the fielding has improved.
“When I took over as a fielding coach in 2009 we started doing fielding drills regularly. Over a period of time they have improved. Against Bangladesh we won a couple of matches with our good fielding. Similarly in South Africa we took some brilliant catches as well as earned some wickets through run-outs. So I am hoping we will do well (in fielding) in the World Cup too”.
The team will reach UK one week prior to the official warm-up matches. They will train at Loughborough MCC University and play a practise match against England women on June 13 before heading to Derbyshire for a camp.
The team will be based in Derby and play two warm-up games against New Zealand (June 19) and Sri Lanka (June 21).
Squad: Mithali Raj (Captain), Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Mona Meshram, Punam Raut, Deepti Sharma, Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Ekta Bisht, Sushma Verma, Mansi Joshi, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Nuzhat Parveen, Smriti Mandhana.