Indian women’s team made a surprise decision of dropping heavyweight Mithali Raj for the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 semifinal match against England. However, the move backfired as England defeated India by 8 wickets to storm into the finals, where they will meet Australia.
Indian team captain Harmanpreet Kaur had chosen to bat first and India was in good position at 89/2 but collapsed for 112 all out. Thought England lost their openers early, they romped home easily by 8 wickets.
Mithali Raj’s manager Annisha Gupta wasn’t amused with the decision to bench Mithali for the crucial game and rebuked captain Harmanpreet on Twitter, calling her "manipulative, lying, immature, undeserving captain" and further went on to say that the women's team believed in "politics not sport".
"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," Annisha's tweet read.
In the post-match presentation, Harmanpreet had said that she had no regrets in leaving Mithali out of the playing XI at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium at North Sound in Antigua.
Annisha, however, later deleted the unverified Twitter handle, but took ownership of the tweets and defended her criticism by saying it came "from the right place".
"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," Annisha told ESPNCricinfo.
“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,” she said.
"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," she added.
Reiterating her statement, Annisha said that she was upset at the treatment meted out to the highest run-getter in the T20 format from India, Mithali Raj.
“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 favoritism that has been shown is very apparent. I think everybody can see the kind of favoritism that is being shown to certain members of the team," Annisha said.
The last seven Indian wickets fell for mere 23 runs before folding for a meager 112 on a slow pitch which needed the skills and acumen of someone like Mithali Raj, who is vastly experienced and hence the team management’s ploy of leaving her out has been questioned.
(With IANS Inputs)