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Report: Selector Signed Off on Team Management’s Decision to Leave Mithali Raj Out for Semifinal

Cricketnext Staff |November 24, 2018, 2:20 PM IST
Report: Selector Signed Off on Team Management’s Decision to Leave Mithali Raj Out for Semifinal

The decision to exclude Mithali Raj from India’s playing XI in the Women’s World T20 semi-final against England led to plenty of criticism from fans and experts. India went on to lose the match when they were bundled out for just 112 in 19.3 overs after choosing to bat first. The lack of a batsman who could anchor the innings was evident, a role that Mithali had played all through the tournament, having made a couple of half centuries.

According to a story in the Times of India based on the manager’s report accessed by the newspaper after the game, the decision to stick with the same XI that emerged victorious against Australia in the team’s final group game, where Mithali didn’t play due to a niggle, was taken in the presence of the national selector Sudha Shah.

“I, as manager, convened the meeting. They (captain, coach and selector) discussed the wicket and the coach expressed that the same winning combination against Australia should play,” read team manager Trupti Bhattacharya’s report. “Harman and Smriti shared the same view and also told the selector, Sudha Shah, that an extra bowler would help the team. Sudha Shah agreed to the XI and did not express anything.”

The story further added that coach Ramesh Powar, like the selector, also supported the decision made by Harmanpreet and didn’t voice any opposition to the move.

The controversy was further fuelled by Mithali’s manager Annisha Gupta hitting out at Harmanpreet on Twitter.

"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," she said in a since-deleted tweet.

She further went on to call Harmanpreet a "manipulative, lying, cheat" in another tweet that was later deleted, but she did later confirm to ESPNCricinfo that the account was indeed hers.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

"There are statements coming out that they wanted to give younger cricketers a chance but you don't drop your senior-most, most experienced players in a semi-final against a country like England. It goes beyond giving the youngsters a chance."

The move to drop Mithali also did not meet the approval of India fast bowler Jhulan Goswami, who retired from T20Is earlier in the year. Goswami also described India’s batting performance as “shoddy.”

"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," Jhulan Goswami told TOI.

"The girls batted well in the warm-up matches as well as group league stage of the WT20 meet, but our batting display against England was shoddy. Our players failed to adapt to the conditions and lacked application."

Harmanpreet had defended Raj’s exclusion from the team after the semi-final. "Whatever we decided, we decided for the team. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, no regrets."

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2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
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