There were rumours that the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (COA) had requested the Indian team management for the fitness logs of Mithali. But it has been denied by former India women’s team captain and COA member Diana Edulji, according to CricketCountry website
India suffered a heartbreaking eight-wicket loss against England in the semi-final of the ICC Women’s World T20 and one of the biggest decisions taken by the team management for the crucial game was to drop Mithali Raj. This has triggered a huge debate.
In the tournament, India's most senior player and leading T20I run-getter, Mithali had struck consecutive fifties before being benched for the final group match against Australia.
According to a report in The Times of India, the decision to go with the same side that played against Australia, in the semi-final against England, was taken by the team management after observing how the pitch had behaved during the first semi-final in which Australia beat West Indies.
Also, captain Harmanpreet Kaur, vice-captain Smriti Mandhana, coach Ramesh Powar and selector Sudha Shah met ahead of the match to pick the playing XI.
There were rumours that the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (COA) had requested the Indian team management for the fitness logs of Mithali. But it has been denied by former India women’s team captain and COA member Diana Edulji, according to CricketCountry website.
Also, the reports of COA meeting Mithali, Harmanpreet and manager Trupti Bhattacharya have been denied. Now, only BCCI General Manager and in-charge of women’s cricket, Saba Karim will meet them.
A senior BCCI official, on condition of anonymity, said, "It is understood that a meeting will be held soon and COA (Committee of Administrators) is likely to speak separately to Harmanpreet, Mithali, Ramesh (coach), manager Trupti Bhattacharya and tour selector Sudha Shah to understand what led to Mithali's omission."
The TOI report quoted Trupti's report, which said, “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. Harman and Smriti shared the same view and also told the selector, Sudha Shah, that an extra bowler would help the team.”
The report further added that coach Ramesh, like the selector who was more a spectator here, also supported the decision made by Harmanpreet and didn’t voice any opposition to the move.
Harmanpreet defended her tactics by saying, “It’s not about not selecting Mithali, it’s about keeping a winning combination,” she said at the toss.
Mithali’s exclusion was again defended by Kaur after the match. She said, "Whatever we decided, we decided for the team. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, no regrets."
According to ESPNCricinfo, soon after India were knocked out of the tournament, Anisha Gupta, manager and freelance sports agent who got endorsements for Mithali, lashed out at Harmanpreet and the Indian think tank, on Twitter.
She wrote, “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 (sic).”
And in another tweet, she called Harmanpreet “manipulative, lying, cheat”. The tweets were later deleted.
In reference to the tweet from Anisha, COA chief Vinod Rai said, “The comments made by people who appear to be associated with the Indian women's team have been viewed with concern. Such statements made in the media are totally uncalled for."
Urging people associated with the women's team to maintain restraint, he also added, “The BCCI has a hierarchy of officials specifically dedicated to the redressal of genuine grievances of players. This is the appropriate mechanism that should be utilised. Issues that have been the cause for the performance of the Indian women's team will be appropriately addressed. All players, the team management and persons associated with them must maintain decorum and follow the proper protocol.”
Many experts and fans also questioned the logic behind not including Raj for such a crucial match.
According to a top BCCI official, Mithali might put across her viewpoint in writing to Saba Karim.
Considering that strained relations between the ODI and T20 captain is an open secret in the Indian cricket fraternity, issues like alleged bias in team selection will be looked into.
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Last Updated Nov 26, 2018, 5:30 PM IST