It has been 44 years since India started competing in the World Cup, but a title remains still a dream for the Women in Blue. They have come close to lifting the title two times, the latest one in the last edition. They had a chance to script history in 2017 when they came agonizingly close to lifting their maiden World Cup trophy. But they fell short by nine runs. Those were one of the most hurting moments in Indian cricket history.
But as all sportspeople are taught, wins and losses are part of the game, and they have to move on, the Indian team also moved on. While many young cricketers could have found it hard to forget the gut-wrenching loss, Mithali Raj has played enough cricket to find out a positive side to that. She has been playing for India for almost two decades now and knows how to take the losses.
Now, after five years, the Women in Blue are once again gearing up for the mega event in New Zealand and the Indian skipper is quite confident about her team's chances at the quadrennial event. Raj believes that the recent losses in big events and the experience from the 2017 loss will only help the girls to perform better.
"We have now been the beaten finalists in the most recent 50-over and 20-over World Cup finals and have learnt so much from those experiences that we will take into this World Cup in New Zealand. 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," wrote Mithali in a column to ICC.
The series in New Zealand has given us a chance to acclimatise: Raj
Raj also added that having played teams like England, Australia, and most recently New Zealand will also help the team.
We are very fortunate to be heading into this tournament having played New Zealand, Australia and England in recent months,” she said.
"The series in New Zealand has given us a chance to acclimatise, particularly to the seaming conditions we don't often experience at home.
"Against England, we won one of the three ODI matches and put up a good fight in the other two before beating Australia to end their run of 26 one-day wins.
"Those results show what is possible if we come together as a team and believe in ourselves, and now, I am just excited to get out there and play," wrote Mithali.
Although Raj is passing positive energy to the group, the Women in Blue will face a stiff challenge in alien conditions in New Zealand. They have failed to win a game so far and have already lost the series 0-4 to the hosts. Notably, India will begin their World Cup campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on March 6.