India ODI captain Mithali Raj has expressed her confidence ahead of the women’s team resuming their cricket after the COVID-19 enforced break.
After their remarkable run to the final of the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup on March 8, the Indian team has not played competitive cricket at the international level.
However, India will now face South Africa in a series comprising of 5 ODIS and 3 T20Is starting March 7. Even though the pandemic forced women’s cricket into the background for a year, Mithali believes the Indian team can wake up from the setback.
“Of course COVID has impacted women’s cricket like other sports and I think we need to find our rhythm again,” Mithali admitted.
“With the series against South Africa that we are playing from March 7, which will be televised live, I think it will get through to everybody who can follow it on different platforms.”
Mithali also admitted everyone enjoys playing in front of crowds, but is fully aware of the challenges of the current situation. Irrespective of whether or not crowds can come to the stadium, Mithali also feels women’s cricket can attract more audiences if they perform well.
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“We enjoy playing in front of crowds, but considering the precautionary measures [it is not possible]. But the sport is out there, it is a live sport and everybody will get to watch it,” Mithali added.
“If we can get back to our rhythm of winning games, I’m sure women’s cricket will find its followers again.”
India announce full squads for South Africa series
India Women’s squad for ODI series: Mithali Raj (Captain), Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Yastika Bhatia, Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), D. Hemalatha, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Swetha Verma (wicket-keeper), Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Poonam Yadav, C. Prathyusha, Monica Patel.
India Women’s T20I squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh, Harleen Deol, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Nuzhat Parveen (wicket-keeper), Ayushi Soni, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Mansi Joshi, Monica Patel, C. Prathyusha, Simran Dil Bahadur.
All the matches will be played at Lucknow’s Bharat Ratna Shree Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana International Stadium.