A day after registering a historic double series win on the South African tour, India ODI captain Mithali Raj said the team can be a surprise element in the World T20 in November. The Indian women's team scripted history on Saturday when they beat South Africa women by 54 runs in the fifth and final T20 international. The Harmanpreet Kaur-led side displayed an all-round performance as they outclassed the Dane van Niekerk-led team, bowling them out for 112 to lift the T20 series trophy by a margin of 3-1 in the five-match series.
"The team still requires a lot of hard work in a lot of areas when it comes to the T20 format. We have been very good in the one-day format, but the way the girls have responded to this format in South Africa, I think there is a lot of scope that we can be a surprise element in the World T20," Raj, 35, told ESPN Cricinfo.
"Now people back home are keen to watch on television, they want to know what the Indian women's team is doing in South Africa.
"It is just unfortunate the one-dayers weren't televised but I am happy the T20s were televised and we have given a very good result. So, getting back home, we have the tri-series against Australia and England, which is again going to be televised so I am hoping all of you will get glued to the TV and start cheering for India," the veteran batswoman added.
Around Raj, there is a younger crop of promising young cricketers to ease the burden from her shoulders.
Th likes of Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy provide middle-order muscle, and in 17-year old Jemimah Rodrigues, who shared a 98-run stand with Raj in the series clincher, a star is being nurtured.
"Yes, that has helped my batting, knowing that the team is not completely dependent on me," she said.
"I can at times take that initiative to try out a few strokes in the middle, without getting bothered if I get out. I am very happy that we have more than one or two match-winners in the squad. That makes it a very strong squad."
(With IANS Inputs)