Like most other senior-level cricketers, Indian women’s cricket ODI captain Mithali Raj resumed training after a long three-month break owing to the coronavirus pandemic. And the veteran cricketer was surprised by the way she batted at the nets.
Mithali began practicing on Monday at St. John’s Coaching Foundation in Hyderabad under the watchful eyes of her mentor R.S.R. Murthy.
"I struggled a lot during lockdown even though it helped me to work on my fitness, keeping me stronger by working on small things which otherwise I couldn’t have spent enough time during a busy season," Mithali told Sportstar.
"There is some freshness to the game too after coming back from the long break though the buzz around is missing in this Academy as there is no one around," she said.
"But, I am trying to keep an eye on the skills aspect during practice though I am not training every day but may be twice a week," the 37-year-old Mithali said.
"When I resumed training, I thought my bat would be somewhere and the feet somewhere else. But, surprisingly, my body kept up the momentum and I was surprised with the way I was batting in the nets. Perhaps, it had something to do with the way I kept myself fit. There is lot of clarity to plan my training sessions," she explained.
“I don’t think I am struggling in terms of my strength and ability. May be, on endurance front, I might be lagging a bit behind. But, I can always work on that," the India captain said.
"So, when I reflect on resuming training, I never felt that I was coming back after such a long lay-off. Feeling 70 per cent okay which is better than to be about 20 per cent ready for the game,” she said.
Mithali's next assignment was slated to against England with the women's team supposed to travel to Europe for a limited-overs fixtire comprising three ODIs and three T20Is in July. But the tour remains postponed.
Mithali hopes that the England series happens in September given the situation improves. The skipper is also eyeing the big trophy - ODI Women's World Cup in New Zealand next year - which will be a record sixth World Cup appearance for her.
“Hoping the scheduled England series is on this September if there is the desired improvement on the COVID-19 front. So, I think this is the best way to get back into the groove ahead of a likely preparatory camp too,” said Mithali.
“Yes, the next February’s ODI World Cup in New Zealand should be the biggest event for all of us (women cricketers). Thankfully, it is the safest place right now and sincerely looking forward to it,” Mithali added.