There are few in the realm of women’s cricket who command respect not only from her teammates or compatriots but also draw appreciation from the rival camps. Truth be told, in a pantheon of greats of the women’s game, where there’s hardly a dearth of big names- think Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine, Sana Mir and Javeria Khan, Ellyse Perry and Meg Lanning- our very own Mithali Raj is an exception. A kind and considerate former leader, and a senior figurehead of the Indian national women’s team whose mere presence lifts the spirits of the youngsters in whose hands rests the responsibility to take Indian cricket to new heights.
A beacon of honesty and an emblem of pure simplicity, Mithali Raj’s mega presence in the game for a period of over a decade and a half has got India much-respected plaudits that today has shaped the identity of a team known for playing the game with rich vigor and versatility.
And recently, Mithali Raj, a veteran of the great sport with nearly 7,100 ODI runs against her name shared the sheer importance of her team playing the much-awaited Pink Ball Test at the WACA, later this year.
As always, the challenge of tackling the mighty Australians is great and this time, as the Indian team will don the Test whites and play under lights and especially against the Pink Ball, something even renowned willowers like Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana.
With much of the current talk concerning itself with the soon-to-be-played World Test Championships, where it’ll be India taking over New Zealand, do not forget that we all need to come together to root for our ladies when they tackle the mighty Aussies Down Under.
But all of that said, just why is the spirited right hander excited about the prospect of her side ready to lock horns with a unit that comprises of timeless greats like Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonnassen?
Let’s find out from the words of Raj herself: “It will be historic. I was thrilled to know we got another Test, and then we’ve never played with pink-ball at night. It will add another dimension to women’s cricket, and hopefully this can continue. I never thought I would get to play the pink-ball Test. We have also not played much cricket at the Western Australia Cricket Association ground in Perth. We’ve seen a lot of men’s and women’s teams play pink-ball Tests. A new chapter will start for us.”
Furthermore, one of the most respected cricketers would also further add, “t is a way forward, getting a Test after a long gap. It is nice to include it in a bilateral series. In fact, more Tests should be played, they must be made a regular feature. Women’s cricket is followed passionately throughout the world now and generates interest. So, why not have Test cricket back? It is very good for the players to get this sort of exposure.”
That being told, one simply cannot wait to conjecture what might happen when the brave Indian ladies take the much-awaited flight to the WACA, which once used to present the great game of ours with a very stern challenge- being home to the fastest pitch?
So what’ll happen according to you? Will runs flow from the bat of Mandhana or will it be Test cricket newcomer Shafali Verma who’ll come out all guns blazing. Schuss and Perry, watch out!