Mithali Raj, who led Team India to the finals of the recently-concluded ICC Women's World Cup in England, says that 2005 edition of the prestigious quadrennial tournament is more memorable for her because at that time the team did not have access to best of facilities and so making it to the finals was a far bigger achievement.
India had missed out on winning their maiden Women's World Cup title in 2005 when they suffered a 98-run defeat to Australia in the final at the Centurion. 12 years later, India defeated Australia in the semi-finals to reach the final of the mega event.
However, it was pressure and nervousness that denied the Women in Blue their maiden Women's World Cup title as they lost to hosts England by just nine runs on July 23 at the Lord's.
In an exclusive conversation with ANI, Mithali said, "The first one is memorable because that time we had no facilities, we didn't had access to best of facilities. We were not under BCCI. We didn't have any support from the government. So, to make it to the finals was a far bigger achievement."
"Considering that run up to the (2017) World Cup, we had matches, we had tournaments. We also have BCCI's support from 2007. The quality of players is far better now because of the access to the best of facilities, trainers, physios, we have access to the academies. So, we can train better."
"This was important in terms of visibility of women cricket because not many know about standard of women cricket and who all play for the team, what they do in the team. In that sense, this plays a major role. But memorable for me, as a captain, is 2005," she added.
The 36-year-old further said she was happy that they have given an opportunity to everybody to be proud of the Indian Women's team.
Elaborating on her future plans, Mithali said, "The next ODI World Cup is too far now. But the next T20 World Cup and the next two seasons of international series is what I am looking at right now.