Nobody expected a cricketing veteran like Mithali Raj to be dropped from the playing XI at the the semi-final of the Women’s World T20. Many were upset that Harmanpreet Kaur decided to not go with a winning combination which Mithali was a part of, before she suffered an injury against Ireland, a match where she scored a half-century but her strike rate was in question.
As Harmanpreet and coach Ramesh Powar’s move backfired and India were knocked out of semi-finals, Twitter was flooded with ‘told you so’ tweets.
Let’s just accept that excluding Mithali was a mistake, shall we? It wasn’t a pitch where you could score big like they did in Guyana. The pitch at Antigua needed an experienced batsmen to anchor the innings, not just go after the ball at every opportunity.
Criticising Harmanpreet for her action is only natural as she is responsible as a skipper for the team’s loss but calling her ‘manipulative, lying, immature, undeserving captain’ is definitely not the way to go.
Mithali’s manager Annisha Gupta lashed out at Harmanpreet for resting Mithali in a knockout game. Here’s what she tweeted after the loss in semi-final:
“Unfortunately @BCCIWomen believes in politics not sport. After witnessing what @M_Raj03 ‘s experience could do in IndvIre it’s shocking that they went with what pleases @ImHarmanpreet -a manipulative, lying, immature, undeserving captain,”
The unverified account was later deleted. However, Annisha defended her statement when contacted. She told ESPNCricinfo:
“I’d like to say that I don’t know what is going on on the inside but, now that the matches are being telecast, we can see who is performing and who is not. And we can see the kind of treatment that Mithali has received despite her brilliant performance and despite showing stability and consistency. The kind of treatment she has received is completely uncalled for and there is something deeper than we need to look at than just the statements that have been coming out.”
It is quite understandable to get angry seeing Mithali on the bench during such a crucial game, but is it fair to use such words for the Indian skipper?
“Maybe I was a little angry but I think it comes from the right place because I don’t stand for unfair treatment. The kind of favouritism that has been shown is very apparent. I think everybody can see the kind of favouritism that is being shown to certain members of the team,” she further added.
She could have taken a leaf out of Jhulan Goswami’s book. Goswami has played for over a decade with Mithali. She was upset with the error in judgement too but expressed it in a different manner. She told TOI:
“The decision was taken by the team management. I am sure they have their reasons, but as an Indian cricket fan, I felt bad to see Mithali sitting in the dugout.”
Statements such as these made in the heat of the moment can create unwanted controversy, as the squad returns home from their World Cup campaign.