Raj was a part of the Indian team that played in the 2000 World Cup in New Zealand and more than two decades later, she is returning to the same country, this time as the captain.
In between, she had also faced the heartbreak of losing in the summit clash to England in the 2017 edition, besides being a member of the team that ended second in 2005.
“I have come a long way from the 2000 World Cup, that also in New Zealand. I missed (matches of) that World Cup because of typhoid and here I am. It has come full circle and I am looking forward to finishing the journey,” Raj said in a video posted by the ICC.
Captain Mithali Raj discusses India’s preparation, goals for #CWC22 and the desire to win their first ever ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 🏆
— ICC (@ICC) 1646111671000
“I would look forward to all my players doing well in the World Cup and that will give the Indian team the opportunity to get a hand on that elusive cup.”
India had lost the recent ODI series against New Zealand 1-4 but the team was able to post 250-plus scores consistently. Raj said the side was looking to do better during the March 4 to April 3 World Cup.
“What we are looking at improving as a team for the World Cup is something we worked in the last series and before that.
“Yes, there was a bit of concern during South Africa and England tour. By the Australia and New Zealand series, the team has come around well to score above 250 consistently. We look forward to doing the same during the World Cup, probably much better than that.”
The 39-year-old veteran batter said having a few left-handers among the top and middle-order is an advantage for the team.
“It is good to have left handers in the playing XI, the advantage of having a left-right combination in the middle creates difficulties to the (opposition) captain, bowlers and the fielders.”
Raj has been in good nick in the lead-up to the showpiece with nine fifties since the resumption of cricket last year.
“I always prefer sticking to the basics of the game because when you play a big game and high pressure situation, it is difficult to maintain composure. It is important to focus on the basic things you have worked on over the years and that comes to your help.”
She said a strong performance in the World Cup would help in improving the fan base of the Indian women’s cricket team.
“I hope each and every player becomes a household name. Also, there are a lot many young girls who looked up to the players. I am sure they will idolise many more women cricketers.
“Not just girls, but also young boys should look up to the young girls because these girls have work so hard, sacrificed so much to be at the spot where they are now.”