The emotions of the 2017 World Cup Finals loss at the full-packed Lord’s stadium still rankle shared India’s Skipper Mithali Raj in her 2022 World Cup column.
Leading India in 2 of the 3 ICC Finals (2 ODI World Cup and 1 T20 World Cup) the team has played, Raj feels proud but at the same time the result, ending as the Runners-up upsets her. With a firm belief to get to the trophy this year which would most probably be her last appearance in international cricket, Raj talks about how the trophy would further boost women’s cricket in the country as a whole.
“We have shown that we are more than capable of winning the trophy, it is now just a case of doing it and the impact of doing so would be incredible. I can only imagine what its effect would be.,” wrote the all-time leading ODI run-scorer
The fact that Indians account for the largest cricket fanbase cannot be left aside and a World Cup victory would be a moment of delight and celebration all across the country. As Mithali wrote, the excitement would be such that its voice would be heard in New Zealand for the fans who have already shown great anticipation for the Women’s edition of IPL.
The legend further talked about the 2005 World Cup moment accompanied by another legend from the country, Jhulan Goswami
“Jhulan Goswami was by my side in 2005 and has been an ever-present member of the Indian team in all those years since, she has amassed 240 wickets in ODIs, 60 more than anyone else, and luckily shows no signs of slowing down. We both so badly want to win an ICC World title before we call it a day!” she shared.
Mithali who had over 2 decades of a decorated cricket career also mentions how the game has evolved in the country where just a handful of girls were seen playing the sport. She acknowledges that the pool of young talents has increased to a great extent now and they would shape the sport well in the times to come.
Talking about the opening duo of Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma as well as wicketkeepers Taniya Bhatia and Richa Ghosh, Raj wrote “Shafali Verma is surely one of the players being watched with great enthusiasm back home. She is one of the world’s rising stars and I am backing her to have more impressive performances for India throughout the tournament with guidance and support from the stylish Smriti Mandhana at the other end. Taniya Bhatia has been very dependable behind the stumps and Richa Ghosh is hot on her heels, meaning we have two wicket keepers we can trust.
Praising the 2017 World Cup Semi-Finals star Harmanpreet Kaur, Raj said,” We all know what Harmanpreet Kaur can do on the world stage. Her 171 not out in the 2017 semi-final against Australia earned her a place in the final and her performances in last year’s Women’s Big Bash League show she is ready to do it again.”
She ends by appreciating the team’s performance against the top world cup competitors- Australia, England, and New Zealand and points out that they have shown us the reason to work together as a team and believe in ourselves.
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