India’s qualification for next year’s ICC World Cup should ease a lot of pressure on the players, said captain Mithali Raj.

In a chat with The Hindu on Friday, the 37-year-old said that till now the players were not sure how to prepare for the World Cup qualifiers.

“In that context, this is welcome news amidst the crisis because of COVID-19 that is threatening the world,” she said.

Not sure

“Definitely, this is good news even though we are not still sure when the conditions will improve and sporting activity will resume,” Mithali said.

It may be mentioned here that India reached the 2017 World Cup final under Mithali’s captaincy, and also beat the West Indies in the last one-day series it played in November 2019.

“With the issue of the World Cup settled, we can plan the preparation much better as there will be enough time when the situation improves, hopefully, by August this year,” said Mithali.

Specific objective

Mithali, in line to play her sixth World Cup, said: “It is important for the team to regroup first, plan about the coaching camps with the specific objective of winning the trophy.

“Of course, a lot depends on the kind of international schedule women’s cricket can afford in the run-up to the World Cup. But, by all means, with India qualifying for the tournament, the focus can shift to planning for the event in order to realise the big dream of winning the World Cup,” she said.

Mithali hopes that things would improve early so that the athletes can at least go to the stadiums and start training. “For now, the focus cannot be on competitions but on resuming training sessions,” she said.

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