Mithali Raj’s omission from the Indian cricket team for the crunch semi-final against England in the Women’s World T20 encounter in North Sound, Antigua, may have raised plenty of questions, but former India captain Sourav Ganguly is not surprised, saying he faced the same fate when he was at the peak of his career.
"No! I also had to sit in the dug-out after captaining India. When I saw Mithali Raj being dropped, I said 'Welcome to the group'," Ganguly said at the Tollygunge Club in Kolkata.
"Captains are asked to sit, so just do it. I have done it in Faisalabad. I didn't play an ODI game for 15 months when I was probably the best performer in one-day cricket. It happens in life. The best in the world are at times shown the door," Ganguly said recalling the 2006 second Test against Pakistan.
Following India’s collapse and the exit from the tournament, criticism of Harmanpreet Kaur’s decision has grown. However, Mithali’s exclusion has now taken an ugly turn, with the player’s manager calling Indian women’s cricket team skipper Harmanpreet a "manipulative, lying, immature, undeserving captain" in a series of tweets. Mithali’s manager, Annisha Gupta, spoke to ESPNCricinfo and confirmed that the tweets belonged to her handle and defended her statements.
India left out Mithali for the semi-final game against England and it raised questions, for the right-hander had scored two consecutive fifties in the league game against Pakistan and Ireland. India suffered a dramatic collapse, losing eight wickets for 23 runs as they were bowled out for a below-par score of 112 and England chased the target down to win by eight wickets.
"You should always remember you're best because you did something and there's an opportunity again. So, I am not too disappointed seeing Mithali Raj being asked to sit out. I have not been disappointed to see the reactions on the ground," Ganguly said while explaining that it is not the end of road for Mithali.
"But I am disappointed because India lost the semifinals because I thought they had the team to go the distance. It happens as they say there's no guarantee in life."
(With PTI inputs)