The India skipper and arguably the city’s best-ever women cricketer, Mithali Raj is raring to go ahead of the bilateral series

The city’s very own Mithali Raj returns as Indian skipper for the women’s cricket team’s tour to Sri Lanka, even as the team is to be coached by former captain and fellow Hyderabadi Purnima Rao.

“It will be a tough series no doubt. But, it would be great if we win in a convincing manner since many big events are lined up this year including the T-20 World Cup,” says a confident Mithali. She was speaking after an informal felicitation function arranged by her mentor and SCR coach Rayaprolu Sri Ramachandra  Murthy and John Manoj, director of St. John’s Cricket Coaching Foundation, here on Wednesday.

Women cricketers don’t play too many international matches, with the national side last playing an ODI, against Pakistan in the World Cup, in February 2013. And the last time India played a Test was in 2006. This means that Mithali had figured in only eight Tests between 2002 and 2006, during which period she also hit scored then highest individual score of 214 in England.

“These are beyond our control; we play whenever we are presented the opportunity. Definitely, it is difficult to stay focussed when you know there is no international cricket around for such a long phase. The Lanka series is a big one for us,” the skipper says.

She does not like to be reminded of the 2013 World Cup debacle at home when India also suffered a 138-run loss to Sri Lanka, missing the bus for the final round. “That was one thing I would not love to recall; it was one of those one-off matches where we fared badly,” she sighs.

Mithali looks forward to partnering her coach whom she saw “growing up”.

“We both have a long-term goal of breaking into the top three,” signs off the captain, who led India in three World Cups.

“It will be a tough series no doubt. But, it would be great if we win in a convincing manner since many big events are lined up this year including the T-20 World Cup,” says a confident Mithali.

More In: Hyderabad