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India vs New Zealand: ‘Constant Work on Game’ Reason for Longevity: Mithali on 200 ODIs

India Women ODI skipper Mithali Raj added another feather to her cap as she became the first woman to appear in 200 ODIs during the third encounter against New Zealand at Hamilton on Friday.

Cricketnext Staff |February 1, 2019, 8:59 PM IST
India vs New Zealand: ‘Constant Work on Game’ Reason for Longevity: Mithali on 200 ODIs

Indian ODI skipper Mithali Raj, who became the first woman cricketer to feature in 200 ODIs in the final game of the series against New Zealand on Friday, believes that her longevity is down to her ability to “constantly work” on her game. Raj made her debut in 1999 and is the leading run-getter in the format, with 6622 runs at an average of more than 51. She also has 52 fifties and seven tons to her name.

"When I started I definitely didn't think that I'll come so far,” Mithali said after the third ODI at Hamilton. “My main aim was to represent my country in the India colours and then be one of the core members of my team. When you have a long career, there are different elements that come into your game. One of the things I did was to constantly work on my game, trying to keep up with international standards was very important.

“I have seen joys and I have seen highs and lows. I am grateful to all those coaches who have worked on my game, my mentors, BCCI and WCA. It feels nice although it is just a number of 200 ODIs. Coming so far and seeing different stages of women's cricket around the globe and in India as well.

"I made my debut back in 1999 under the IWCC (International Women's Cricket Council) and then coming under ICC (International Cricket Council), you can see the difference. I am just very happy to represent my country."

36-year old Raj was already the most capped woman in ODI cricket, having surpassed Charlotte Edwards’ record of 191 ODI appearances the ICC Women’s Championship series in April last year. She has led India 123 times, also a record, ahead of Edwards who captained England 117 times. The 2-1 series win in New Zealand was another first for India and although the final game was a disappointment, she is pleased with how the team is progressing.

"In the first game, the spinners dominated and the openers gave us a great start,” she said. “Getting into the second game, the spinners carried the momentum from the first one and though we had a collapse in the second game, my partnership with Smriti (Mandhana) helped us. Overall Indian team have always banked on the spinners and they done well here as well.

"The middle-order definitely needs more outings. Also, when the spinners are getting hit, you need more support from the fast bowlers, although Jhulan (Goswami) is experienced in this department. Maybe an all-rounder in the squad can be useful in these conditions. On a given day, when spinners don't do well then the all-rounder can step in."

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