ANI Photo | Mithali Raj commends advancement in women’s cricket at T20 WC

India legend Mithali Raj appreciated the rise of multi-dimensional cricketers, increased use of pace options, and narrowing of the gap between sides as seen in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023.
Only two games remain in what has so far been a riveting T20 World Cup. The tournament has witnessed exciting plays and exceptional performances.
In her exclusive column for the ICC, Raj discussed how the ongoing tournament reflected the evolution of the women’s game. This included the increased presence of multi-dimensional players.
“The group stages of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 have shown just how far the women’s game has advanced. All teams 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,” Raj said.
“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 death overs, with her cameo against India proving decisive towards the end. Grace Harris can contribute with the bat 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,” the former captain said.

Three of the five top wicket-takers in the tournament have been pacers. Raj also went on to praise the rise of the quicks as seen in the World Cup.
“One of the themes of the tournament has been the rise of fast bowlers, who have really dominated and helped their teams to victory, which is not usually the case with the T20 format where you see batters scoring big fifties and hundreds,” Raj added.
The recently retired India legend also applauded the competitive nature of the cricket played during the T20 event, which has seen some of the traditionally lower-ranked sides show fight.
“The gap has certainly closed to the top as well. The matches have been much closer. We saw Ireland beat Australia during the warm-ups, which was huge for them. We have seen Pakistan, the West Indies and Sri Lanka all have great games and cause a few upsets too. We saw India nearly beating Australia in the semi-finals,” the former cricketer said.
For Raj, these developments were a bright sign of things to come.
“It’s very exciting to think that we have two more T20 World Cups on the horizon. By then, the women’s standard will definitely be two to three notches higher. All those players who have burst onto the international scene this time will be more experienced players by then. We have players like Alice Capsey from England, Richa Ghosh from India, and Renuka Thakur, who may be a little older but only came into the side last year. I think all players including those who starred at the ICC Women’s U19 T20 World Cup earlier this year will be looking to shine in the next two editions of the T20 World Cup,” Raj added. (ANI)

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