We are looking for consistency: Mithali Raj

The Indian ODI captain says Lanka series will be a challenging one

Hyderabad: She is 35 years but Mithali Raj says age doesn’t matter as long she keep herself fit. As the veteran of 194 internationals gets ready for the Sri Lanka one-day series, the Indian captain says she has a true love with batting. “The day I bat well, I’m in happy mood and when I don’t, even in the nets, I sulk. What motivates me to play and score runs at the highest level is that I challenge myself to come on top,’’ she said after a net session at St John’s camp on Friday.

With over 6,373 runs, Mithali points out that she always tries to create the space to perform well. “I have the experience. It is important to adjust to the conditions. I have to perform as the team relies on my contribution and that is the reason I have to score runs.’’

The skipper admitted the team has not been consistent after a high in last year’s World Cup. “We won the South Africa series after the World cup but when we were pitted against top class team like Australia, we fail to rise to the occasion.’’

Mithali said that the time has come for the batters to come good. ”We need strong batters in the one-dayers. The good news is that Smriti (Mandhana) is back in good form after had a slump. It is not the case with other players. We are looking for consistency which will improve us to perform better.’’

According to Mithali, the series in Lanka would be a challenging one. “We have to come out of the losing streak. We need to regroup ourselves. The players need to play with a positive frame of mind. With T20 World Cup around the corner, there will be a lot of expectations and so we need to get back the winning formula.’’

Mithali said it is important that they have to grab all the six points against Lanka in ODIS. “They are very crucial to the run up to the ICC one-day World Cup as we hadn’t any points against Australia. It is imperative we bag all the six points

The retirement of Jhulan Goswami in T20 is a setback. “We both played for so many years. We shared some historic moments. The Indian team will miss her experience in T20 format but I’m glad that she is part of the one-day side where we still get to see Jhulan.’’

Mithali feels the competition is becoming stronger in Asia. “Earlier teams like Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka never got to play so many matches. They played only in a few tournaments and now with ICC championship where every teams plays each other for points and that gives small teams like Bangladesh compete against big sides. That definitely improves the standard. They are growing as a team.’’

On new coach Jhulan Goswami, she said he will be a big help to the bowlers, particularly the spinners. ”We hugely depend on spinners even in one-day tournament. It is important of his stature can share their experience and help the spinners.’’

On Smriti’s return to form, Mithali said she has to be consistent. “She has worked on her game and has come back strongly. In South Africa, she was consistent. She likes play her strokes but she has to learn to play a long innings. We would like to see her score runs again in a big way.’’


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