Mumbai, Jan 14 (GCSports) Indian women team is all set to embark on a tour of New Zealand after going through a tough period during the T20 World Cup held in West Indies in which India failed to make it to the final, followed by verbal bitter exchanges between Mithali Raj and others in the team.
The team is touring New Zealand after a gap of 12 years. It will play three One Day Internationals (ODIs), followed by three T20Is between January 24 and February 10.
Addressing pre-departure press conference here on Sunday, Mithali said, “When the coach comes ahead for the national side, we as a team are very vocal and expressive with regard to what is required for the team and the benefit of the team.”
“The coach and players have to be on the same page because that’s very important, and the coach understands,” the ODI captain added.
Raj hoped the new coach, successor of Ramesh Power, W V Raman, will make a big difference to the team.
“I have not trained under him (Raman) but met him a couple of times. If you have seen his credentials … he has played [at the highest level] and also coached various teams at various levels,” Raj said.
“There is no expectation as such. When you have credentials like that you are only positive that the coach will make a big difference to the team going into this year, going into this series,” the veteran cricketer added.
Talking about the importance of the New Zealand tour, she said the (ODI) series, which will be a part of the ICC Women’s Championship, will be crucial for qualification for the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2021.
“Right now, the focus definitely is the New Zealand series, but as a captain and as a team we understand the importance of the points system and how important it is for us to gain those points to get an entry into the 2021 World Cup. We know where we stand right now in the tables and this series should be crucial from that perspective, “Raj said.
Raman, who is coaching a women’s side for the first time, said he is ready to take up the “slightly different” challenge.
“Every coaching assignment will have its challenge,” said Raman. “This is slightly different because it is a different segment, but again the common denominator is cricket because they are going to play cricket. In terms of tactics, technique and various other things there is not much difference. So, I, therefore, don’t see as something totally different. It is slightly different yes, but not totally different.”
Both captain and coach insisted that the controversy and the difference of opinion in the team following the T20 World Cup appearance was “past”.
Talking about her retirement, the 36-year-old hinted that she may not play next World Cup.
“I did not think of retirement, as whatever happened, it happened off the field. I do not know where I will be standing after couple of months from now. I really do not know whether I will be part of the 2020-21 World Cup,” Raj said.
“I cannot predict or comment about my future. I have never planned throughout my career, it’s always been with the flow,” she further added.
India’s squad for the tour.
ODI squad: Mithali Raj (captain), Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Punam Raut, Deepti Sharma, D Hemalatha, Taniya Bhatia (wicket-keeper), Mona Meshram, Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Shikha Pandey
T20I squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Mithali Raj, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Anuja Patil, D Hemalatha, Mansi Joshi, Shikha Pandey, Taniya Bhatia (wicket-keeper), Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Radha Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, Priya Punia.
New Zealand Women had named a strong 13-member squad for the upcoming ODI series against India at home.
New Zealand squad: Amy Satterthwaite (c), Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout (wk), Sophie Devine, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu.