Mithali Raj reacts to rift rumors during World Cup in New Zealand


Reacting to reports of all not being well in the Indian women’s dressing room during the 2022 World Cup in New Zealand, former captain Mithali Raj has stated that in team sports there are bound to be differences of opinion. She, however, asserted that, as a leader, she tried to maintain her composure and focus on what was best for the team.

Five years after finishing as runners-up in the 50-over World Cup, the Indian women’s team failed to live up to expectations during the 2022 edition in New Zealand. They exited the tournament ahead of the semi-finals. Apart from poor on-field performances, their campaign was marred by reports of a long-standing rift between two senior players that created a sense of unease in the dressing team.

Opening up on the controversy, Mithali, who recently announced her retirement from all forms of international cricket, told PTI in an interview:

“When you play a team sport, there will be differences and disagreements. It is very natural. They all want to do good but everyone has a different opinion. But as captain, even if things are difficult I cannot lose my cool, my vision for the team has to be clear. In allowing my emotions to guide, I would not end up focusing on things I want the team to work on.”

“The most successful woman batter in the history of Indian cricket.”Celebrating @M_Raj03‘s records, achievements and contribution to the sport ⬇️ https://t.co/PpmEMdwuuV

She added that even though people consider her quiet and passive, her calmness helps her during tough phases. The 39-year-old asserted:

“I am not aggressive but composure has helped me to focus on things that are important and maintain a sense of calm in the team to help players focus on what is important.”

On India’s failure to build on the gains from the 2017 World Cup, Mithali admitted that the transition phase has not been smooth but pointed out that the forced break due to COVID-19 did not help. She explained:

“Every good team, once it finishes the World Cup, they start to rebuild for the next edition, find players for specific roles and give them exposure and all that. A year’s loss due to the pandemic did not help. But still I would not give that as an excuse for our performance in the World Cup.”

Mithali added about India’s inconsistent performances leading into the World Cup:

“You must realise when we induct certain new players in the team sometimes the transition is smooth and sometimes it takes a while. It is not easy for teams to step out of long quarantines and give their best. From the South Africa series last year our spin department has been at times indifferent. That has really dented us. Because we rely heavily on them.”

Your contribution to Indian Cricket has been phenomenal. Congratulations @M_Raj03 on an amazing career. You leave behind a rich legacy.We wish you all the very best for your second innings 🙌🙌 https://t.co/0R66EcM0gT

Following a forced break due to COVID, India returned to international cricket with an ODI series against South Africa at home in March 2021, which they lost 1-4. In preparation for the World Cup, they played five ODIs in New Zealand against the hosts in February this year but were again thrashed 1-4.


“Kiran Navgire is one to watch out for” – Mithali Raj picks her players to watch out for

With Mithali having retired and 39-year-old pacer Jhulan Goswami unlikely to carry on for much longer, Indian women’s team needs to start grooming players for the future. The process has already been put into action.

Asked who among the younger generation she rates highly, Mithali commented:

“Kiran Navgire is one to watch out for. She did well in the domestic T20s and Women’s Challenge. In the Indian team, you have Yastika Bhatia, Richa Ghosh and Shafali Verma. S Meghana has done well in the few chances she has got. If you want your bench to be stronger, you need to give the young players a chance to grow.”

Thank you for all your love & support over the years!I look forward to my 2nd innings with your blessing and support. https://t.co/OkPUICcU4u

27-year-old Navgire recently smashed the fastest fifty (25 balls) of the Women’s T20 Challenge during the tournament in May this year. Earlier, in the Senior Women’s T20 Trophy, the Nagaland batter hammered 162 off 76 balls against Arunachal Pradesh, making her the first Indian (male or female) to score more than 150 runs in a T20 match.






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