India women’s captain Mithali Raj believes if they were to win the upcoming World Cup the sport in her country would undergo a major “revolution”.
The women’s World Cup starts in the UK on 24 June and many pundits are predicting that year’s tournament is the most open that it has ever been.
Usual powerhouses England and Australia will still be seen favourites to lift the crown but the emergence of teams like India, South Africa, New Zealand and World T20 champions West Indies should make this an exciting tournament.
Although many great strides have been made to boost the women’s game in India, Raj, who first captained her country to the world event in 2005, feels a triumph on the world stage would open so many more doors.
Raj said at the team’s departure press conference in Mumbai on Saturday: “We want to win the World Cup because it would be a revolution kind of a thing for Indian women’s cricket.
“It would give a big impetus for young girls to take up the sport.”
Speaking about her team’s chances this year, the now 33-year-old Raj said a lot will depend on the performances of the senior players in the team – herself, vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy and pace bowlers Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey.
Raj continued: “There are a few seniors already aware of the expectations and the pressures that one faces during the World Cup.
“But the youngsters are the ones that we, as seniors, always make sure we can be there for them during the pressure situations because for all the first-timers playing the World Cup, I’m sure the expectations and pressures are huge for them as youngsters.”
“We know the task is tough and we have to win all our matches so we have no margin of error.”
“It doesn’t really bother me what the crowd do to be honest, I’m just sort of blocking it all out.”
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