Aussies series could act as a catalyst: Kulkarni

Published: Thursday, January 6, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Bangalore:Indian eves' spirited performance in the recent ODI series against world champions Australia could act as a catalyst for women's cricket in the country, feels former India all-rounder and Womens Cricket Association of India (WCAI) secretary Shubhangi Kulkarni.

Speaking exclusively to Thatscricket.com, Kulkarni believes the team's sterling showing against the formidable Aussies was just what the doctor ordered.

"Look, not many gave us a chance against Australia at the start of the series They were always the overwhelming favourites. I thought we gave a pretty good account of ourselves in the series which should stand us in good stead for the upcoming World Cup."

"In hindsight, if you look, a few of the matches were extremely close and it could have gone either away. Had the lady luck been smiling on us, the end scoreline of 4-3 could have been different," she says.

Kulkarni agrees that the impressive performance of the Indian team would pave the way for more sponsors coming into the game.

"The response from the sponsors have been encouraging. Especially after our display in the recent series against Australia, the response has been very positive. I'm sure that there would be a lot of sponsors in women's cricket in India ," she says.

The Pune-based cricketer was of the opinion that the confidence level of the girls would be sky-high when they embark for South Africa to take part in the 2005 World Cup starting March 15.

"The Australia series was a big morale-booster for us. Our girls are teeming with confidence after our efforts against Australia," she says.

Replying to a query on whether one international series was a sufficient preparation for the showpiece event like the World Cup, Kulkarni says that there are a quite few domestic tourneys coming up which should be an ideal build-up for the showpiece event.

"See, the World Cup was initially slated to start from February 15 and in that scenario the Australia series would have been very well-timed. But they put off the World Cup by a month, which left us with a very little time to arrange for other international engagements. "

"We have the Inter-Railway meet coming up in Mumbai from January 25 and then we have the senior national championship in Chennai from February 14. These two meets should be adequate enough to gear ourselves for the World Cup," she says.

Kulkarni, who took a bow from international cricket in 1990-91, reckons that nothing much should be read over the issue of Mithali Raj taking over the captaincy baton from Mamtha Maben.

"Mamtha was injured and that's why she couldn't play. Mithali is young and of course, she can be groomed for the future. As for the present, I reckon Mamtha is doing a good job and I see no reason for changing it."

Asked to pick the positives from the India-Australia series, Kulkarni was all praise for Jaya Sharma.

"Jaya Sharma did a find job with the willow. She was consistent throughout. Anju Jain also had a good run so did Monica Sumra," she says.

Kulkarni reveals that the Indain team's World Cup camp would be held in Mysore from February 25.

"Our World Cup camp will kickstart at Mysore's Infosys grounds. Infosys have been lending a great helping hand towards the development of women's cricket. It was because of their unstinted supprt we're able to host the first two ODIs in Mysore. They assured us to provide all the facilities for holding the World Cup camp," she says.

Read more about: news, bangalore, thatscricketcom, january 6
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