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Mithali Raj: Team gutted by early exit

Mithali Raj: Team gutted by early exit

Mithali Raj scored 103 off 141 deliveries to guide her team past Pakistan in the seventh place play off of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2013 on Thursday at Cuttack © Getty Images

Cuttack: Feb 8, 2013

Indian women’s team were handed an early exit from the ICC Women’s World Cup 2013 when they suffered a heavy defeat in their do-or-die game against Sri Lanka.

India managed to win against Pakistan in the seventh place play-offs but Indian skipper Mithali Raj was not happy with the way things panned out for her side.

“Well, the win has not made us happy because we know being such a good team, the way we started our first game against West Indies, we thought we had a good chance of making it to the Super Sixes. To exit the tournament here, the girls are very disappointed. Yes, it was a must-win game, because we didn’t want to lose again and finish last, ” as reported by bcci.tv

Mithali scored a century to guide India to victory in the game against Pakistan.

“I think in the last two innings I didn’t spend much time at the wicket. I wanted to spend some time in the middle. It was important to do that as we lost two early wickets; so we needed a partnership between me and Harmanpreet Kaur. Chasing 193 is still a difficult task on this track, which is why we wanted to have one good partnership and one person batting through. So I’ve played a lot of such innings; this was one such innings,” she said.

“Individually, it doesn’t feel great. As a player it feels terrible, but you need to move on and see to it that you don’t repeat it and be positive in the coming series. As a senior player, you need to set an example for the youngsters. Most of them depend on me to give them the positive vibe. It is a very young side, very talented side, we need to be together to keep performing,” she added.

“Every player is hurt. For us the World Cup is over today.”

Talking about Pakistan, Raj said, “I think Pakistan is a good side. They have done extremely well against bigger sides like Australia. We have been following the league matches of other sides as well. Pakistan was a very decent side, and on a slower track any side can pose a threat. They did have good spinners. So, I think it was important for us to win this game.”

Looking back on her captaincy stint, Raj said, “The World Cup is a tournament where every player feels the pressure, irrespective of whether she is a debutant or the most experienced player. Yes, as a captain I had a good season in 2005, [and] we finished No.3 in 2009. We beat Australia in Australia and then this exit. It has been a mixed bag for me as captain.”

Asked about the next World Cup, Raj said, “I don’t know about 2017. I plan series by series; [over] four years a lot of things happen, so I’m not sure about that.”

“It’s again down to our preparation. There will be changes from World Cup to World Cup. There is always a transition in every team. Some of the seniors remain while there will be some youngsters who will come in. It is important to see how the youngsters turn into experienced players by the time the next World Cup comes around.”

Raj also praised the efforts of some of the youngsters while reflecting on this World Cup. “I think Harmanpreet Kaur is capable; she is the vice-captain. It is easier for a batter to be captain, because there is no pressure of bowling and setting fields. Thirush Kamini is also young. So yeah, one of the youngsters will have to lead the team going forward.”

“We need to work on our consistency in all games.”

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