Former India captain Shantha Rangaswamy feels the time has come for Harmanpreet Kaur to take a call on her future as captain after India’s crushing 85-run defeat to Australia in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup on Sunday.
Rangaswamy said Harmanpreet is much more important to the Indian team as a batter than a leader while former player Diana Edulji called for “introspection” after their defeat. Both Rangaswamy and Eduji took solace in the performance of 16-year-old opener Shafali Verma and the consistent showing from the bowlers while the batters disappointed.
“I am very disappointed that such high calibre batters like Smriti [Mandhana], Jemimah [Rodrigues], Harmanpreet [Kaur] did not click at all. It was a consistent failure of Harman, Smriti, Jemimah and Veda [Krishnamurthy],” Rangaswamy told PTI after India’s heavy loss in their first T20 World Cup final.
“Shafali was the only one who made significant contributions while the others just chipped in which is not good enough to win a world title,” she added.
Questions are being raised about Harmanpreet the captain as well as the batter. Under her leadership, India had lost in the semi-finals in the 2018 edition in the West Indies. Her scores in Australia read 4, 15, 1, 8 and 2.
“I am sure she will know when to give up captaincy and it is time for her review her captaincy. She is a mature person because she definitely is needed in the team much more as a batter than captain, especially in T20s. It is worth pondering over. With new selectors, new think tank coming in after the World Cup [this can be reviewed],” said Rangaswamy.
‘Need to introspect’
Edulji, who had criticised the team’s fitness in the preceding tri-series, said a proper introspection should follow the defeat in the final.
“Let us not be too harsh on them. They had a good run. We broke the semi-finals jinx. The loss has shown that T20 is not our forte, our forte is ODI cricket. It is time for good some introspection on the strengths and weaknesses and put it into practice because the ODI World Cup is just around the corner (next year),” said Edulji.
Besides the failure of the star batters, running between wickets and fielding let the team down. Shafali, whose only failure came in the final, was instrumental in India’s entry into the final.
“There are lots of positives despite the loss. Shafali was brilliant and spinners and lone pacer Shikha Pandey were brilliant. Alyssa Healy just took the game away from India in the final with her aggressive approach. The fact that India had to chase also did not work in their favour as they set totals in majority of the league games,” said Rangaswamy.
She added: “I hopes Shafali takes a lesson out of Harman as far as her fitness is concerned. She needs to improve her running between wickets and fielding and that will come with better fitness. She is getting away right now because of her big-hitting prowess. She will be a much bigger asset with improved fitness.”
Diana reiterated the need for a mental coach with the team’s performance consistently nosediving in knock-out games of ICC events.
“I want them to get over the loss quickly because they have a big World Cup coming. We need a medium pacer definitely. If Shikha breaks down, then there is no one and fielding and running between the wicket has to improve come what may,” she said.
“We also need a mental coach with the team (considering loss in knock out games),” added Edulji.
Meanwhile former coach Arothe, who was the team’s coach when it lost to England in the 2017 World Cup final, slammed the decision to send Tania Bhatia at number three.
“You cannot send Tania Bhatia at number three as she isn’t a big hitter. If you wanted to take advantage of first six overs, send a hitter,” he said.
“It was just one bad day. Every team had one bad in the league stage except India. Everything went against us. The body language was down in the first six-seven overs,” added Arothe.