Mumbai: The Indian women put up a great show in the recently concluded World Cup but even as fell agonizingly short in the end by just nine runs, they won a lot of hearts worldwide with their spirited performance and skipper Mithali Raj overwhelmed by the warm welcome the team got on their return to the country, believes that the good times have arrived for women’s cricket.
“It’s overwhelming to see such kind of reception, it’s first of kind for all of us, I faced kind of similar one in 2005, then we were not under BCCI,” said Mithali.
She also added, “I was wondering had we been under BCCI what kind of reaction we would get, girls would have enjoyed being received like that, it is just a beginning of good time for women’s cricket.”
Mithali and her team put up a great fight in the tournament beating big teams like England, New Zealand and Australia and there were some stand out performances from the likes of Mithali Raj, Punam Raut Harmanpreet Kaur and the bowlers led by the veteran Jhulan Goswami. Raj, also reached the milestone of becoming the all-time leading run-scorer in women’s ODI cricket in the World Cup.
Mithali had also led the team to the finals of the World Cup way back in 2005 but the match wasn’t even televised then. But this time, there has indeed been a change in the way people thought and felt about women’s cricket and this is more than pleasing.
Speaking on this, Mithali said, “They always deserved it, now because of broadcasting and televising of the game it is more, coming under BCCI has made a difference. I always believed if more matches are televised we can attract more people.”
She also added, “The way the girls have played, Indian and other teams have put up good standard of cricket in World Cup and it has given impetus to women cricket globally, it has given us more positive feedback.”
Harmanpreet Kaur, the right-handed aggressive batswoman who blasted her way to a sparkling 171* against Australia in the second semi-final attributed her six-hitting capabilities to the formative days of her career when se played alongside men.
“I like to bat in that way since childhood, I have learnt to play that way and played cricket with boys, who used to hit sixes and I liked hitting sixes,” she said.
She scored a sparkling 51 in the final, but failed to take her team over the line.
Speaking on the match, she said, “In the final, we needed runs and I was going for runs, I played the shot thinking it will be fully covered, but it went into the fielder’s hand. I was very disappointed.”