Mithali Raj has stated that women’s cricketers are not sure of their purpose of training at the moment, with a few starting to feel ‘anxious’ about their future. With the Women’s Big Bash League slated to start in October, the dates for Women’s T20 Challenge hasn’t been revealed yet.
Ever since the Women’s T20 World Cup final on the International Women’s Day on March 8, which played host to over 86,000 audiences at the massive Melbourne Cricket Ground, women’s cricket had come to a stand-still, apart from a few T20Is between associate nations. England women kick-started their summer with a T20I against Windies Women yesterday, with the players preparing themselves for the Women’s Big Bash League, scheduled to be played in October at the Sydney hub.
However, the lack of clarity from the BCCI’s front- which also led to Indian and English cricketers not signing the WBBL contract yet, players have started to feel anxious about their future. Raj stated that it is a tough place to be.
"There's been this anxiety about what's the future, what the future tournaments are because right now, we don't know, for what we're training. There needs to be a purpose. Before, we used to plan for any international series if it is an away-going [tour], so players would accordingly prepare," she told Lisa Sthalekar during a virtual discussion at ICC 100% Cricket.
"And if it's a home series we prepared accordingly, but now we don't know why we train. So, sometimes we do feel there's no sense of purpose if we don't have competitive cricket or any international series, even domestic for that matter."
With the Indian Premier League already being played within a bio-secure bubble, with no connection with the outside world, it might become the new normal as we call it. However, Mithali feels if that means they are getting to play cricket, as professionals, they need to be responding to the call.
"Since we are contracted players, that's our job, so being in the bio bubble - if that's what gets us going in terms of the matches - I think as players we are okay with being in the bubble and training and preparing ourselves for the game.
"Somewhere we need to do a few adjustments to get the matches going. As far as the mental set-up is concerned, we did have a few sessions with a sports psychologist: talking to the players, as a team [too], we were on calls. Those things do help [because] as seasoned, as senior players we understand how to tune ourselves. But the most important thing in the current situation is the young players or the players who are in the age-groups, who've just made their debut. For them it's even more important to settle their anxieties and anxiousness they develop thinking about their future.
"If you're a young player, you'd definitely want to know, 'I just made it into the Indian team; what's the next opportunity I will get?' These are questions that young players usually go through. Not everyone still has access to training facilities... Again, how do you prep such young players? That's where the support staff and sports psychologist come into play, to give them a lot of positivity and keep their hopes us [so that] they keep training."