Coming under BCCI, the turning point for female cricket in India: Mithali Raj

NEW DELHI: Mithali Raj , known as the pioneer of women Cricket in India feel to come under the Cricket Control Board in India ( BCCI ) was a turning point for women's sports in the country.

Her comments came after she decided to withdraw from the T20I format. Raj went on to represent India in 89 T20Is, scoring 2,364 runs.

Well, I think the turning point, in my opinion, has to be 2006 as in that year we came under BCCI. With that a lot of facilities were provided to us, a lot of things changed for good and better. Since then, there has been a gradual improvement in respect to the access in facilities like NCA and an increase in the support staff, Raj said.

Many more international games and series began to be scheduled for us and contracts that gave security to the players and were able to concentrate on their game also came into effect, he added.

The 36-year-old decided to retire from the T20I format on Tuesday, September 3. He was not seen playing the T20 World Cup in Australia next year, so he thought about preparing players for the next tournament.

Earlier this year, he decided to withdraw from the format and would like the World Cup over 50 in 2021 to be his swan song.

This decision was made in January during the tour of New Zealand. I had told coach WV Raman and the president of selectors about my decision. The captain knew it too. All people who were required to inform about my decision were informed. The 2021 World Cup would definitely be my swan song. I'm eager to prepare for the World Cup, Raj said.

I didn't see myself playing the T20 World Cup next year in Australia. I thought I should inform the coach of my plans so he can think of an alternative for the team and start preparing the team in the same way. I wanted to give him at that time where he can try several players to get experience on the side, he added.

In 2016, the Cricket er was dropped from the T20 World Cup semi-final match against England. There was a clear rift between then coach Ramesh Powar and Raj. She had also alleged that Powar of publically humiliating her.

But when asked if her fallout with the coach had an impact on her decision, Raj batted the question with a Cricket er's precision.

Well, the consequences with coach Ramesh Powar had no impact on my decision. I don't make decisions based on emotion, because it is my career and I would like to be more practical when it comes to the race. Fallout with Powar does not have any role to play, Raj said.

Raj has had a wonderful T20 career and also became the first Indian to score 2000 T20I runs. The Cricket er who made her T20I debut in 2006 said that the game has witnessed many changes since then and the introduction of various leagues across the globe has given wonderful players to the sport.

He also said he would seek to play the Women's IPL next year, since the league is the country's own.

I think it has definitely improved since 2006 due to the consistency of the matches. Many players came with the start of several leagues and has helped the growth of the sport, Raj said.

Well, not necessarily in the other leagues, but yes, I look forward to the Women's IPL because it is our own league and I would love to be part of it, he added.

Women's Cricket continues to attract more and more admirers each passing day. But getting Test matches scheduled for the women teams still remains a challenge as the prime focus looks to be on the shorter formats. Raj said that the International Cricket Council (ICC) is promoting women's play worldwide and doing what is best for the sport.

"I think at some level the ICC is trying to promote the women's game globally and that requires them to focus more on ODI and T20I Cricket . They are trying to revive the game. Maybe once women's game is able to find good standing among fans, then they can focus on Test Cricket but as of now with T20 World Cup and ODI World Cup, I do not think boards will look into Test matches," Raj said.

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