The all time highest run-scorer in ODI Cricket, Indian captain Mithali Raj confirmed that the 2021 ICC Women’s World Cup will be her last International tournament and that she hopes to finish up with a trophy.
A World Cup trophy would be a phenomenal achievement for the most prolific run-scorer in women’s ODIs, Raj is keener on winning the cup as it could further boost the rate at which young girls are taking up the game in India.
“The 2021 event will obviously be my last World Cup, and I hope to see India lift the trophy,” Raj told Aaj Tak.
“Apart from being a great achievement for the team, World Cup glory will further advance the cause of women’s cricket in India and we saw that the 2017 World Cup had a positive effect as well,” Raj said.
Got to finish the job in 2021 World Cup
The 2021 Women’s World Cup is slated to take place between February 6 and March 7 in New Zealand. Mithali Raj has set her sights on it, especially because it will be her last. She also added that, women’s cricket has grown a lot in the past few years, and winning the World Cup will be a big boost for the team.
Raj, who had retired from the T20 Cricket last year, believes that winning a fifty-overs World Cup is the most important in the career of most cricketers and hoped that India, who have been excellent in women’s ICC tournaments of late, would go one step further and finish their job that they left unfinished in 2017 when they lost to England Women in the final at Lord’s.
“Winning any ICC event, be it in ODIs or T20I, will be a massive inspiration to the next generation of girls, but the 2021 World Cup, being in the fifty-over format, is considered the pinnacle by any cricketer. And I really hope India can go one better than they performed in the last edition.”
Central contract and exposure encouraging young women
Mithali Raj reflected on how the times have changed since her debut and how well they are trained since the early age and with central contracts and more exposure, young women cricketers coming through the system are committed professionals who earn from the game.
“There’s a big difference in exposure for women’s cricket since my early days as an international player because when I made my debut as a 16-year-old I learnt a lot of lessons on tour, but someone like Shafali Verma comes in fully prepared, having been exposed to tournaments like the Challenger Trophy with plenty of experience in the domestic setup,” Raj said, adding that central contracts have played a role in keeping the women in the game.