Mithali Raj backs youngsters Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh to do well in World Cup | Cricket News

DUBAI: India skipper Mithali Raj is confident that youngsters like Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh will rise to the occasion at the upcoming women’s World Cup in New Zealand next month.
Mithali reckons the 18-year-old Verma, who was the team’s standout performer during the 2020 T20 World Cup, will continue to play impressive knocks for the country in the marquee event.
“Shafali Verma is surely one of the players being watched with great enthusiasm back home,” Mithali wrote in her column for the ICC.
“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.”

The big-hitting Verma has had a relatively lacklustre tour of New Zealand by her standards, having scored only one half-century.
However, Richa Ghosh, who is competing with the Taniya Bhatia for the wicketkeeper’s spot, has made most of her chances. The 18-year-old slammed back to back fifties in the second and fourth ODIs.
“Taniya Bhatia has been very reliable behind the stumps and Richa Ghosh is hot on her heels, meaning we have two wicketkeepers we can trust.”
The veteran batter added that the India team is very “fortunate” to be heading into the marquee event having played top sides like holders England, Australia and hosts New Zealand recently.

Despite having lost all the games on the tour — one T20 and four ODIs — so far, Mithali feels getting used to the seaming conditions is a big plus for India, who are not used to such wickets at home.
“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. The recent results against England and Australia prove that India is capable of winning the upcoming women’s World Cup,” Mithali wrote.
India had finished runners-up after succumbing to heart-breaking eight-run loss to England at the 2017 World Cup and Mithali said missing out on that chance is something that will “rankle forever”.
“I clearly remember the emotions from the final of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in 2017, having come so close to winning.
“The match against England was played in a packed Lord’s stadium and to miss out on that chance is something that will rankle forever.
India are also the T20 World Cup runners up, having lost the last edition to hosts Australia in 2020.
“It has been an honour to have led India to two of the three ICC finals we have reached. We have had several memorable performances over this period but are missing that one huge win.
“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.”
Mithali feels that her side has shown it’s “more than capable of winning” a title but just lack that one “huge win.”
“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.”
“To be recognised on the streets in my country is something I never expected when I appeared in my first World Cup in 2000, also in New Zealand, but that is now so common and shows how much the game has grown in India.”
Mithali will have pacer Jhulan Goswami by her side during the tournament, and the two veterans are eager to get their hands on the trophy before they bid adieu to the sport.
“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!
“We have, of course, been joined by so many talented youngsters in recent years. There is huge talent in India and I am sure the next crop of players is already inspiring thousands and thousands of girls out there to pick up the bat or ball.”
The World Cup begins on March 4 when host New Zealand take on West Indies.
India will begin its campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on March 6.

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