IND vs SA: Skipper Mithali Raj banks on quality preparation

Updated: Jan 24, 2018, 09:15 IST | Subodh Mayure

Unlike Virat Kohli's team, Mithali Raj's India side will reach South Africa a good 12 days before their first ODI on February 5 against the hosts

India skipper Mithali Raj during a training session at MCAs BKC ground yesterday. Pic/Prakash Parsekar
India skipper Mithali Raj during a training session at MCA's BKC ground yesterday. Pic/Prakash Parsekar

Unlike Virat Kohli's team, Mithali Raj's India side will reach South Africa a good 12 days before their first ODI on February 5 against the hosts. The eves have also spent a good amount of time training for the tour at Mumbai Cricket Association's Bandra Kurla Complex ground, where they faced quality pace bowling from upcoming Mumbai boys on a specially-prepared bouncy wicket. The Indian women's team will play three ODIs against South Africa as part of the ICC Women's Championship. The ODI series will be followed by a five-match T20 international series.

'Leaving early helps'
"We left early for the World Cup in England as well to get acclimatised and it's the same for this South Africa tour. It helps because we organise practice games and get used to the bounce. You don't get to see that bounce on sub-continent wickets," Mithali told the media on the eve of the team's departure yesterday. The India skipper, who has represented the country in 10 Tests, 186 ODIs and 63 T20Is, insisted the South Africans will provide them a stern test.

"The young girls have been in match-mould because they have been playing domestic cricket. We [seniors] had a preparatory camp here and a couple of them are coming from the Big Bash League [in Australia]. They have worked hard on their fitness; they look fit and agile. I would tell them to start afresh… it is an important tour.

'SA won't be easy'
"We have toured South Africa before and it is not going to be easy. They are a very good side and we have seen that in the World Cup where they almost made it to the final. The competitive cricket will test each and every player," said Mithali, who has scored 6190 ODI runs with six hundreds.

Mithali indicated that she is in no mood to try too many combinations during the tour. "We do have three new players in the squad. This is our first tour after the World Cup and I would not be trying too many things. It is important for the core players to get the confidence. "It is important that we win matches and then try out a few things and look at a few changes in the batting order or combinations," she concluded.

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