Shanta puts World Cup money on India, Australia

Published: Sunday, February 6, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Bangalore:Former India all-rounder and Women's Cricket Association of India (WCAI) national selection committee chairman Shanta Rangaswamy today predicted an India-Australia final in the forthcoming women's World Cup starting in South Africa late March.

Talking to Thatscricket.com in an exclusive interview, Rangaswamy said India along with Australia would start as firm favourites and should clash in the summit clash of the showpiece event."To my mind, it should be an India-Australia final," she said. "Both have balanced line-ups and with the kind of form they have showed in the recent past, I have no doubt in my mind that India would make it to the final alongside Australia."

She said India had done well in the recent home series against Australia and added that the confidence of the girls would be sky-high for the big-ticket event. "Obviously, the confidence of the girls have taken a giant leap. Australia are the numero uno side in the world and doing well against them have raised expectations among the Indian public," she said.

Rangaswamy refused to buy the theory that the Indian batswomen won't find it easy coping with the seaming conditions in South Africa. "I don't think so. We've done well in South Africa before. Getting acclimatization to the conditions will be the key. Once we are able to do that, the rest will take care of itself."

The national selector-turned Doordarshan commentator lavished praise on promising Indian batswoman Mithali Raj for her consistency. "She's our real backbone. Whenever the chips are down she would stand up and be counted. She's technically sound and is the player to watch out for in the World Cup," she said.

The chief selector said that Mithali was definitely a captaincy material and is being groomed for the future. "She's the attributes to be a captain. She's definitely someone we are keeping our eye on for the future," she said.

Rangaswamy stoutly denied talk that Mithali was being given the captaincy in the recent ODI series against Australia so as to ease out regular skipper Mamtha Maben for the post. " There is no truth in that. Mamatha had a problem with her knee and that's why she did not play in few of the matches and in her absence the captaincy baton was handed over to Mithali."

Thr ex-India player, who notched her lone Test century against New Zealand in Dunedin in 1976-77, however, was far away from being satisfied with the seam attack. "I am not happy with our seam attack. Jhulan Goswami has done well and looks to be good prospect for us. That apart the seam line-up lack the teeth. Although our spin attack is the best in the world, we would still be better off with a few more quality seamers in our side."

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