Indian women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj has expressed happiness over returning to New Zealand as captain for the upcoming ICC Women’s World Cup 2022, having taken part in the 2000 edition of the ICC mega event in the same country.

She was a part of the Indian team in the 2000 World Cup in New Zealand and now, more than two decades later, the star batter will captain the Indian side in the 2022 edition and she is just as excited to lead the bunch of talented cricketers and is aiming to clinch that elusive trophy to finish her career on a high.

Notably, Raj had suffered the heartbreak of losing the final to England in the 2017 Women’s World Cup, as well as in 2005, but now the skipper is hoping to finally clinch the World Cup 2022 trophy this year.

Raj said in a video posted by the ICC: “I have come a long way from the 2000 World Cup, that also in New Zealand. I missed (matches of) that World Cup because of typhoid and here I am. It has come a full circle and I am looking forward to finishing the journey. I would look forward to all my players doing well in the World Cup and that will give the Indian team the opportunity to get a hand on that elusive cup.”

India recently lost the ODI series 1-4 to New Zealand 1-4 and the skipper noted: “What we are looking at improving as a team for the World Cup is something we worked on in the last series and before that.”

The 39-year-old batter added: “Yes, there was a bit of concern during South Africa and England tour. By the Australia and New Zealand series, the team has come around well to score above 250 consistently. We look forward to doing the same during the World Cup, probably much better than that. It is good to have left-hander batters in the playing XI, the advantage of having a left-right combination in the middle creates difficulties to the (opposition) captain, bowlers, and the fielders.”

On her own form having hit nine fifties since the resumption of cricket last year, Raj said: “I always prefer sticking to the basics of the game because when you play a big game and high-pressure situation, it is difficult to maintain composure. It is important to focus on the basic things you have worked on over the years and that comes to your help.”

The Indian skipper also said that a strong performance in the upcoming Women’s World Cup 2022 would help the side to improve the fan base in the country.

She concluded, “I hope each and every player becomes a household name. Also, there are a lot many young girls who looked up to the players. I am sure they will idolize many more women cricketers. Not just girls, but also young boys should look up to the young girls because these girls have worked so hard, sacrificed so much to be at the spot where they are now.”

Credits – PTI

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