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Mithali Raj: India making good progress but there are few areas to work on

Former women's team captain Mithali Raj identifies a few weak areas for the Indian men's team at the T20 World Cup - like the opening partnership.

Mithali Raj

Former Indian women's team captain Mithali Raj (ICC)


Mithali Raj

Updated: 6 Nov 2022 6:17 AM GMT

India are in a good place to make the semi-finals, and with that the final, but there are still a few things they need to get right if they want to have the best possible chance of winning.

Firstly, they cannot take the game against Zimbabwe lightly. We know what they did against Pakistan and they had a very close game against Bangladesh, going down to the final ball twice!

I really feel India is the favourite when it comes to playing against Zimbabwe but then when you're playing the smaller teams, you need to be mindful to keep the intensity through the game. If at anytime the intensity drops the opposition will start to get the better of you and T20 is so fast paced there are few chances for recovery.

You still have to play your game, be your best on every match day. I think India has been good in the power plays with Arshdeep picking up the wickets barring the game against Bangladesh where the Bangladesh batters really got the measure of our bowling especially in the powerplay.

That match will also be important to for those players to back into form who haven't started firing as yet in this World Cup. Their form is key for India when they get into the semi-finals. You want all the loose ends settled before the semis.

'Openers need to fire together'

The opening pair needs to fire together because we have not yet had an ideal opening partnership, we've lost wickets in the powerplay.

I have been enjoying watching Rohit captain across this World Cup, I think some of his decisions have been brilliant.

Some might argue that he could have done this better or that, but every captain makes decisions at the spur of the moment, there are a lot of other factors the captain is considering at that time.

The most important thing is that you need to rally your team to achieve that goal and I think he is doing a fine job of that, hiccups will happen here and there, especially in a tournament like the World Cup. You will probably lose a game, but as captain it is important to get your team to refocus on the goal at hand.

Even though it has been five months since I retired from cricket, I still have the natural emotions towards the sport from being a player.

I've played for so long that it will take some more time to watch close tight games without feeling the nerves of a player, I couldn't watch that final over between India and Pakistan!

It felt like I was in the middle of the ground and playing in the World Cup. When there were seven balls and 22 runs, I was praying to God that there had to be a miracle to win the game.

I started to run up and down the stairs to settle my nerves until they finished and then my dad told me 'you can stop that now, we won the match'.

But I'm enjoying all the matches and also doing commentary for this World Cup and watching cricket from a different perspective. More like having a bird's eye view of the whole game and I'm thoroughly enjoying it just as I did when I was a player.

(This column was first published on ICC)

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