Eyebrows raised after India women play World T20 semi-final without Mithali Raj

Eyebrows raised after India women play World T20 semi-final without Mithali Raj

India’s loss in the semifinal was causing the supporters more discomfort since they dropped veteran and their best batter Mithali Raj for the game.

India Women
India Women. (Photo Source: Twitter)

India women failed to better their records at the Women’s World T20 this time as well as they lost to England by 8 wickets in the semi-final at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound on Thursday. It was a disappointing end to a campaign which was unbeaten till that game and was giving the fans high hopes of the women in blue registering their best performance at the prestigious event.

India’s loss in the semifinal was causing the supporters more discomfort since they dropped veteran and their best batter Mithali Raj for the game. The 35-year-old batswoman’s omission in a game which was played on a not so conducive wicker raised a lot of eyebrows, including cricket expert Harsha Bhogle.

The decision completely backfired as the Women in Blue were bowled out for just 112 inside 20 overs – their lowest score in this tournament – and the opponent won the game inside 18 overs losing just two wickets. The loss meant India’s best performance at the Women’s T20 was restricted up to the semi-final.

Decision in team’s sake

Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who was picked for the job ahead of the tournament, reflected on the decision to drop Mithali in the post-match presentation saying it was taken aiming at the team’s benefit. “Whatever we decided, we decided for the team. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, no regrets. I’m proud of the way my girls played through the tournament,” she said, adding that it was a “learning” for the team.

Mithali, the highest scorer for India in T20Is with 2,283 runs and is nearing 10,000 runs in international cricket, was not played in the Australia game but it was a game with much less pressure compared to the semi-final the pitch for which also required a seasoned batsman to tackle.

Mithali scored half-centuries on both occasions she got the opportunity to bat in the tournament – against Pakistan and Ireland – and was adjudged the player of the match in both games. The decision to ignore her for the crucial tie against England understandably a lot of people stunned and disappointed after the results came out.

Expressing his surprise over the decision to omit Mithali, Bhogle wrote: ‘If India can go in without Mithali Raj, this must be twice as good a batting side as any in the world!!! What is the story there?”

In another tweet, he spoke on the issue again, asking the wisdom of leaving the veteran batswoman out on a difficult surface.