Mithali Raj, who is the ODI captain and remains committed to play the 50-over World Cup in 2021, is not an automatic pick in the playing XI for the Twenty20 International. The 36-year-old, who was controversially left out out of the playing eleven for the World T20 semifinals against England last year has been on the receiving end of reports which speculated that she would retire from Twenty20s after the end of the England series at home. However, she ended up playing in all three games and now she has made herself available for the series against South Africa beginning on September 24. The matches are part of the build-up for the Women's World T20 which will begin on February 2020 in Australia.
"I am definitely available for the T20 series next month but, at the moment, haven't really thought about the T20 World Cup. I usually take it series by series," Mithali told to PTI about her retirement plans.
Mithali highlighted the problem areas India need to work on as they aim to compete with far superior teams like England and Australia in the World T20. "As a team, we still have a lot to catch up on the T20 format but we do have youngsters coming in and with the exposure of T20 leagues around the world they will get more experience and mature faster. Genetically we can't be like other teams but we can be more smart in our planning and shot selection. We worked very hard on our fitness in the recent camp in Bangalore and you can see the girls are much fitter on the ground and that reflects in their drills," Mithali said.
However, one selector added that the side is looking for young talent as they aim to groom a group of players for the marquee event. "Mithali has been a great of the game but she needs to decide soon on her T20 career. The T20 World Cup is six months away and the selectors need to try out a few players. And for that, they also need to know what Mithali's plans are. She is also not an automatic pick in the eleven," a BCCI official said. It has been learnt that the selectors will speak to Mithali about her plans ahead of the team selection.
While India are doing okay in ODIs, they need a lot of improvement in T20s, having lost their previous six games. The team doesn't have much time left to sort out its combinations. After the South Africa series, India travel to the West Indies before playing a tri series in Australia ahead of the T20 World Cup.