Just a few days after being knocked out of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, the Indian team is back home. Though it has been a bitter pill to swallow for the fans of Indian women’s cricket to digest the fact that the team had to make an early exit, there has been some good news for them. On April 1, Indian women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj was bestowed with the Outstanding Business Leader Award at IBLA (The Indian Business Leaders Awards) 2022.
The 39-year old is the leading run-getter in the world of women’s cricket with more than 10,000 international runs. She has already led India to two World Cup finals in 2005 and 2017 and has been an incredible servant of the game.
Mithali Raj on Women’s World Cup 2022
During the award show, Raj was asked about India’s journey in the World Cup and ofcourse her future plans. Raj said, “I won’t hide the disappointment that we didn’t want to end the campaign that way in the World Cup. The team really prepared hard for it. But it is what it is and I think moving forward yes the Indian team has Commonwealth Games to prepare for. Before that we also have the Women’s T20 Challenge that will be played during the IPL play-offs. Also I have read that the BCCI is planning to have a Women’s IPL from next year. So I am looking forward to that as well. We also have the Women’s U-19 World Cup next year. So yes there is a lot happening in women’s cricket.”
Raj also emphasized on the need of having a big pool of players in the domestic circuit from which the national team can be selected. She also stressed that the U-19 World Cup will do a world of good as it will help in identifying and grooming the young talent.
Mithali Raj on Women’s IPL
Further, commenting on Women’s IPL, Raj said, “Women’s IPL will present a great opportunity to our players. They will get a lot of exposure. Rubbing shoulders with the best in the business will help them to double up the speed of turning into good players. Uncapped players will benefit a lot from the Women’s IPL. Also I feel that the current crop of players is exposed to a lot of distractions due to social media. So I feel you need people to show them the right path. It is important to have good mentors.”
Mithali Raj on her Future Plans
With India’s World Cup campaign being done and dusted, Raj was quizzed about her future. She said, “I am yet to come to terms with the loss. Right now I am not in a position to comment on my future plans. But yes there is a domestic T20 tournament coming up and I am looking forward to participating in it. I would want to groom the younger players and give them confidence.”
Mithali Raj receives Outstanding business leader award at IBLA 2022.
Congratulations @M_Raj03 😍🥳#CWC22 #TeamIndia pic.twitter.com/CX5P0KdTQ9
— Female Cricket #CWC22 (@imfemalecricket) April 1, 2022
Looking back at her career Raj shared that 2005 and 2017 World Cups were some of her fond memories. India went all the way to the finals in those two World Cups. She also highlighted the 2014 Test which India went on to win against England in England. It was challenging for her as a captain as she was leading the side with eight debutants and also the fact that India was playing Test cricket after eight years.
Towards the end of her interaction when she was asked about the disparity in the remuneration and recognition received by Indian men and women cricketers, she said, “Women’s cricket has come a long way and I am sure that there will be a time when there is less disparity. Also it is important to note the fact that men’s cricket has come a long way too from what it used to be to what it is now.”
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.