Following her side’s brilliant run in the World Cup, India captain Mithali Raj saw the tournament as a springboard for good things to come for the women’s game, on Tuesday evening on the team’s return to the country in Mumbai. However, the veteran was tight-lipped about the idea of the introduction of a Women’s Indian Premier League, putting the ball in the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s court.
Exceeding exceptions, India beat newly crowned champions England, New Zealand and the formidable Australians to reach the final at Lord’s, where they fell short of winning the title by an agonisingly close margin of nine runs,
“It is just the beginning of good times for women’s cricket,” Raj said. “The win over England in the first match was a big boost for the team. 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,” she added.
Raj, who also became One-Day International cricket’s highest run-scorer during the tournament, said she was thrilled with the reception her team got at the Mumbai airport. A sea of people welcomed Raj and her side upon arrival, “It’s overwhelming to see such kind of reception, it’s a first of this kind for all of us, I faced a kind of similar one in 2005, then we were not under BCCI,”
There have been calls for the Indian board to kickstart a women’s IPL. Recently, World Cup winner Gautam Gambhir urged the BCCI to ponder about the move seriously. Raj, though, played this delivery with caution. She said: “If something like this is started in India, it will help players get exposure but it’s up to the BCCI. I can proudly say that I have led the team well. The captain is what the team is.”
The 34-year-old from Hyderabad also insisted that the women’s game can go on to attract a bigger audience, provided the matches are televised. Not a single match, including the final, was shown on television 12 years ago as India finished runner-up in 2005 at South Africa. She 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,” Raj said.