Reema Malhotra feels India can win the Womens World Cup
After stepping into the international arena six years back with a spinning finger and a fair idea of wielding the willow,Reema Malhotras appearance at the highest level has been no better than a game of hide-and-seek with a solitary Test,26 ODIs and a couple of T20s to her credit. And on the eve of a nine-day preparatory camp for the upcoming Womens World Cup in Australia,she stands at a crossroads.
Malhotra,despite inconsistencies and poor runs,has the distinction of pinching the selectors for the greatest stage of the game,and for that,the four-year hibernation doesnt seem to be a deterrent.
I have made the comebacks just before the World Cups. After my debut in the Mini World Cup in New Zealand in 2003,I wasnt picked for the foreign tours. Then I was picked for the 2005 World Cup after a couple of good performances, says Malhotra. The opportunity finally came,but not without a rider.
But with the team doing so well till the final against Australia,the coach didnt change the combination and I came back without playing a single match, Malhotra says.
What followed was more terrible. The same XI played in the following away series against Australia and New Zealand,the home series against England and the Asia Cup, Malhotra adds.
But she is confident of leaving a lasting impression in her second World Cup,especially after consistent performances for India B in the Challenger Trophy that gave her the selectors nod for the tour Down under. Last time around (in 2005) I was a junior,this time as a senior,I can expect to play matches, she laughs.
And with this in mind the next nine days would be spent in make-shift Australian conditions in Mumbai. Its not going to be that different there (in Australia). In Mumbai we have asked for similar practice conditions, says Malhotra,who was a part of the Indias tour Down Under last December.
The teams run was horrendous to say the least,but she clings on to the positives. We lost all matches against Australia,but it wasnt that bad. There were a couple of instances where we came close to winning, Malhotra adds.
Clubbed with Sri Lanka,England and Pakistan in Group B,the all-rounder guards her team mates against going by reputation. Australia might be the world champions,but I think England would be the toughest team to beat. They have a very long batting line-up and a lot of quality fielders. They have won whatever they have played this seasonagainst Australia,West Indies,New Zealand and India, she explains.
She is disappointed for the lone Test cap against England due to some shortcomings in her bowling,but is optimistic about also figuring in the T20 event in June this year.