Indian cricket great Mithali Raj on Saturday indicated that the 2022 ODI World Cup in New Zealand will be her swansong after 23 illustrious years in international cricket.

The 38-year-old is the statistically the most successful batter in women’s 50-over cricket and just the second woman and the first Indian to score 10,000 runs in international cricket. She lead India to the final of the last World Cup, back in 2017 in England. The next edition was delayed due to the pandemic.

“It’s been 21 years of international cricket and I know 2022 is my swansong.. the World Cup,” Mithali said during the virtual launch of the book 1971: The Beginning of India’s Cricketing Greatness, published by Harper Collins and co-authored by Boria Majumdar and Gautam Bhattacharya.

“The last year is equal to the 20 years of my international cricket,” she added.

The 38-year-old spoke about she had to keep herself motivated during the pandemic which pushed the marquee tournamnet by one year.

“I know we are in difficult times but it takes a lot out of me to keep working on my fitness. I am not getting any younger, in fact I am getting older and I know the importance of fitness,” Mithali said.

“The importance of being in a very good emotional and mental set-up, knowing that there will be very few tours before the World Cup.”

India are set to play four bilateral series in the coming year – away tours in England, Australia and New Zealand and a home series against West Indies sandwiched in between.

“Every tour (from now on) is important for me as a batter as to how I am going to get the team to regroup and build a team for the World Cup,” she said.

“Yeah, I am very optimistic looking at the girls and in the manner they have been working with whatever facilities they have in these times and focus and enthusiasm that a series is coming up.”

She admitted that fast bowling is one area that the team needs to improve upon and build a pool looking at the future as Jhulan Goswami also hits the business end of her career. “We definitely need to look at a few players and prepare them for New Zealand, so yeah.”

The game’s most prolific batter also said that she is seriously looking for some good seam bowling options for the lively New Zealand tracks that will be on offer next year.

With PTI Inputs