When Mithali Raj broke into the Indian team two decades ago, opportunities to play were limited. With the team playing very few tournaments, players had to wait for long to showcase their talents.
But things have changed over the years.
Mithali, who is the captain of India’s ODI side, believes that tournaments like the Women’s T20 Challenge have helped in unearthing new talents in recent years.
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“It’s good to see youngsters coming in. The best example is Shafali [Verma] – who used the Women’s T20 Challenge platform last year. She was the find of the tournament (in 2019), playing for Velocity. There are also a couple of more players, who are young and talented, they just need some platform to showcase their talents and exposure so that when they represent India A or the national team, they have the experience helping them getting into the international level,” Mithali said on Tissot Presents Sportstar Extras T20 Time show.
“When I started playing, we did not have these platforms, so players back then would take good two-three years to find our feet in the international arena. But in today’s time, with Women’s T20 Challenge, India A, Emerging teams, BCCI has taken so many initiatives to get the girls going,” she said.
“So you are bound to see a lot of players like Shafali coming in. But then, Shafali is a rare talent and they don’t come in bulks. You have to nurture them. But having said that, the team also needs experience. You need youth and exuberance, but you also need the experience for wisdom. So, a culmination of both is what makes a very good team,” Mithali, who has represented India in 10 Tests, 209 ODIs and 89 T20Is, said.
When the second edition of the Women’s T20 Challenge was held in Jaipur last year, Mithali’s Velocity lost the final against Supernovas. But this time around, she wants to clinch the title.
“I would want my team to win this edition. Last time, we missed by a small margin in the final, but It was a good match. I was told that a lot of people wanted to come and watch the final game, and there was stampede outside the stadium in Jaipur,” Mithali said.
“This time we would want to showcase the best [of] women’s cricket standard. It should help in promoting the sport in India and the UAE, and a lot many girls will take up the sport if we put up a great show,” the seasoned campaigner said.