India’s One-day Intentional captain Mithali Raj said that international sides don’t take India lightly anymore given how much the team has improved in the last couple of years.

“Teams don’t take us lightly anymore and come prepared for us. Consistently beating the best sides in the world – be it Australia in the ODIs or England in the T20s – has given us the confidence that we too are a side to beat,” Raj is quoted as saying by Sportstar in an Instagram live session.

The Indian team reached the finals of two of the last three ICC World Cups, finishing runners up at the 2017 ODI World Cup as well as in T20 earlier this year, losing to hosts England and Australia respectively. Raj and Co beat Australia in the semi-final of the 2017 edition and India also overcame the world No 1 in the tournament opener of the 2020 T20 World Cup. India also reached the final of the T20 tri-series featuring Australia and England at the start of this year.

The young unit is now considered genuine challengers at the world level and Raj said that the team has changed a lot after the 2017 loss that triggered a revolution of sorts in the support the team got.

The 37-year-old reserved special praise for the bowling unit that all but carried the team at the recently concluded ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia. For a team that used to be overly reliant on batting, India has become an all-round unit with the spinners at the forefront.

“In the last few years, our bowlers have done so well. They took us into the final of the World T20 in March. From speaking of the impact of a batter’s innings, I am so glad and proud to be speaking of the bowlers, especially our spinners doing well on Australian wickets in a format we have struggled in for so long,” she said.

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Talking about the ongoing coronavirus lockdown, Raj said that the Indian team is in touch with coach WV Raman and are collectively working on maintaining fitness while at home.

“Some of us have running space while others like me have to manage within the restricted spaces indoors, so our trainers are adapting routines for us. Raman sir is trying to be creative with our skill training regimen. It is difficult because irrespective of how much we train indoors, we need to get out onto the ground to be fully prepared,” she added.