With a turbulent end to 2018, which included a falling out with former coach Ramesh Powar and differences with compatriot Harmanpreet Kaur, Indian Women's Cricket team's ODI captain Mithali Raj is positive that new coach WV Raman will make a "big difference" to the team.
Speaking at a press conference here on Sunday, ahead of India's tour of New Zealand, Raj said, "I think when a coach comes in, we as a team are very vocal and expressive as to what is required for the benefit of the team, and the coach and players will have to be on the same page, which is very important. If you've seen his (WV Raman) credentials, experience, and expertise. He comes with that. There are no expectations as such, but when you have credentials as such, you can only be positive that the coach will make a big difference to the team, going into this year, this series".
When asked about her difference of opinion with T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur and its implications on the upcoming series, Raj asserted that the team needs to "perform as a unit" in order to prevail.
"At this level, every player understands what it takes to reach this level and what it takes as a team to go on an overseas tour, to aim to win the series, to gain those points. Even though we might have a difference of opinion, when it comes to the team we sit down and discuss. Its always for the benefit of the team," Raj said.
Raj stated that both she and Harmanpreet have moved on from their differences. "Too much emphasis is being given to this controversy, all of us should look forward to 2019," she noted.
Following India's defeat in the T20 World Cup last year, Raj had accused then-coach Ramesh Powar and Committee of Administrators (CoA) member Diana Edulji of "discriminatory" treatment.
In his defence, Powar had stated that Raj used to give "minimum inputs in the team meeting" and never uttered a "single word of appreciation" after the team finished on top of the table. He also accused her of putting individual interests above those of the team.
Meanwhile, the 35-year-old opener, who was dropped for the semi-final loss against England in the Women's T20 World Cup, further asserted on the importance of winning the series in New Zealand and gain the points in order to qualify for the ICC 2021 Women's World Cup.
"We understand the importance of the points system, how important it is to gain those points to get an entry to the 2021 World Cup. We know where we stand right now in the tables, so this series is very crucial in that perspective," Raj said.
India eves will take on their 'White Ferns' counterparts in a three-match ODI series and a three-match T20 series, starting January 24.