Mithali Raj, the India Women ODI captain, feels there is a bright side to the postponement of the Women’s World Cup despite obvious disappointment among the players, admitting that the original schedule would have been too taxing for the players.
The 2021 Women’s World Cup, scheduled to be held in New Zealand in March, was rescheduled to 2022, with concerns over the preparedness of the players, who 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.
Mithali, who has been an active ODI cricketer for over 21 years, believed players would take time to hit the strides after the long break, and said the rescheduled tournament allows them time to regain fitness.
“One has to look at the bright side,” Mithali told Hindustan Times. “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.”
Oh absolutely , my eyes are fixed firmly on the trophy 🏆. with all niggles recovered , mind and body fresh and stronger than before I am definitely looking at World Cup 2022 .
— Mithali Raj (@M_Raj03) August 8, 2020
The next World Cup is expected to be the 37-year-old’s swansong, who has played five editions of the tournament since 2000. Any fears of the rescheduling forcing a retirement for Mithali were quashed when she took to Twitter to express her commitment, in a reply to former Australia star Lisa Sthalekar.
“With the kind of uncertainty, and to give all teams an equal opportunity to prepare, the postponement looks fine,” Mithali said. “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.”