Indian women’s cricket needs multi-skilled players: Mithali Raj

Women’s cricket in India has made huge strides ever since its breakout moment came as being runners-up in the 2017 ODI World Cup in England. Since then, India won Asia Cup, became runners-up of 2020 Women’s T20 World Cup, were semi-finalists in 2018 and 2023 Women’s T20 World Cups and also bagged maiden U19 Women’s T20 World Cup Trophy earlier in the year. The question now arises is, what more needs to be done to further the development of women’s cricket in the country? The inaugural edition of Women’s Premier League (WPL) is starting from March 4 and it promises to be another watershed moment in upping the growth of women’s cricket in the country. In her column for the International Cricket Council (ICC), former India captain and legendary batter Mithali Raj pointed towards two things which nations would need to up their growth in women’s cricket: — multi-dimensional players and more fast bowlers. “All players understand the importance of having two- and three-dimensional players now. Players with only one side to their game are not as desired in today’s game. Only players with exceptional talent like Meg Lanning, Smriti Mandhana and a few others who are extraordinary batters can thrive or a Darcie Brown or Shabnim Ismail who can clock 120 plus. Everyone else has developed their skillset and added to their overall game.” “For example, we’ve seen how England’s Sophie Ecclestone has developed her skills with the bat in the death overs, with her cameo against India proving decisive come the end. Grace Harris can contribute with the ball and take wickets for Australia, so I think establishing yourself as an all-rounder, or someone with multiple skills, is the way forward for women’s cricket,” she wrote.