Ahead of her team’s departure to New Zealand, India’s ODI captain Mithali Raj said on Sunday that she and teammate Harmanpreet Kaur have moved on from the controversies following the team’s World T20 semi-final defeat.
Mithali’s omission from the Women’s World T20 semi-final against England created a controversy after the team’s return from West Indies.
Upon returning to India, Mithali had alleged that the then coach Ramesh Powar humiliated her during the tournament.
Harmanpreet and Smriti Mandhana, however, wrote to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), seeking Powar’s extension.
Eventually, Powar wasn’t given an extension as the team’s coach.
As the team embarked on their first tour of New Zealand in 13 years, guided by new coach WV Raman, Mithali said, “It’s a fresh start. Coming into the new year, it’s a fresh series. Yes, we’ve moved on.”
The controversy, she admitted, hampered women’s cricket in India over the last few months. “I believe when a lot of non-cricketing things are spoken, it’s not so good, but we are getting an opportunity where we can again perform and let people talk about the team’s performance, and that will only enhance the profile of the sport,” she said.
The Indian team, Mithali said, can play well despite the difference of opinion between players.
“At this level, every player understands what it takes to reach this level, and what it takes as a team to go on an overseas tour to aim to win the series, to gain those points. So, even though we might have differences of opinions, when we come down as players, we sit down as a team. It’s always to the benefit of the team, and what works for the team is decided by everybody.”
Mithali reckoned the controversy was overemphasised and Indian cricket should look forward to the future series. “As a captain, and as a team, we understand the importance of the [ICC Women’s Championship] points system and how important it is to gain those points and get into the 2021 World Cup, and we know where we stand right now on the table.”
India are slated to play three ODIs and three T20Is against New Zealand.