I was already planning to play through 2021: Mithali Raj

I was already planning to play through 2021: Mithali Raj

The right-handed batter has till now featured in five Women's World Cup editions for India since 2000.

Mithali Raj
Mithali Raj. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has rescheduled the Women’s World Cup which was scheduled to be held in New Zealand in March 2021 to February 2022. This decision was made with concerns over the preparedness of the players as they have been out of action since this year’s Women’s T20 World Cup which ended in March, the last international tournament before the COVID-19 restrictions were put in place.

The Indian veteran cricketer Mithali Raj has welcomed this decision of ICC saying that the original schedule would have been taxing for the players. Though there will be disappointment among the players regarding the postponement, the decision is good as it would provide the players with sufficient time to prepare themselves.

Speaking to the Hindustan Times, the Indian ODI captain said, “One has to look at the bright side. The slot for the World Cup was in February and our domestic season will start only in October-November due to COVID-19. That would have meant we would have had just three months of preparation going into the World Cup.”

“After a long break, the players have to start from scratch and will take some time to get into groove. Keeping that in mind, the schedule would have been extremely cramped and taxing for them,” she added.

I was already planning to play through 2021: Mithali Raj

In her international cricket career of 22 years, Mithali has done wonders for the Indian women’s team and is often regarded as India’s greatest female batter. She has represented India in 10 Tests, 209 ODIs, and 89 T20 Internationals scoring 663, 6,888, and 2,364 runs respectively.

The right-handed batter has till now featured in five Women’s World Cup editions for India since 2000. It is speculated that the next World Cup would be her last ICC tournament and she would be looking for retirement after that. However, many fear that the rescheduling in the ICC tournament will force Mithali to take an early retirement and bid goodbye to the game of cricket.

Rubbishing such claims, Mithali reckoned, “With the kind of uncertainty, and to give all teams an equal opportunity to prepare, the postponement looks fine. The players are disappointed as everyone was looking forward to it. I was already planning to play through 2021 and now the plan automatically falls into place as the World Cup is postponed to February, 2022,” she concluded.

The 37-year-old had also expressed her excitement over playing the Women’s World Cup 2022 in a reply to the tweet by former Australian star Lisa Sthalekar.