Mithali Raj © Getty Images
The Indian women will hope to put in a good performance to qualify for the 2017 Women’s World Cup © Getty Images

Bengaluru: Indian women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj said they were focused on producing a good performance in the five-match ODI series against New Zealand Women rather than thinking about qualification for the 2017 World Cup. Wins in the first three games of the series will ensure World Cup qualification for the Indians.

“We are thinking about performing well, not thinking about the results. Of course, we know if we win all first three games we will be right up there and qualify. I think the girls are confident because we are playing in home condition,” she told reporters on the eve of the first match here. Replying to a query, Raj said batting is the strong point of the visitors, but they also have a couple of slow spinners who could pose problems for Indian batters on the turning track.

This New Zealand team relatively have new faces and some of them are visiting India for the first time, she said, adding, “Some of them are experienced but probably touring India for the first time. “They have slow spinners – left-armer (Morna Nielsen) and off-spinner (Leigh Kasperek). It will definitely be a test for our batters as well on such wickets. Their batting is the strong point because they have very attacking players,” Raj said.

She said further, “I wouldn’t say they are a threat, but the left-arm spinner seems to be very good when I saw her in the warm-up match against India A,” she said. Replying to a query, Raj said with the BCCI initiating several steps including introducing the contract system for women cricketers, it has given them hope of popularising women’s cricket.

“There is a good opportunity for players to showcase their talents and popularise women’s cricket with BCCI initiating several steps including introducing contract system and telecasting live ODI matches,” she said. Asked was there any area of concern during preparations, Raj said they got just three sessions in Mysuru due to rains and two sessions here. However, the players are positive and eager to take the field tomorrow with confidence. Asked about the pitch, Raj said, “My experience says it is full of runs. I feel it is a batting track.”