Former India captain Sourav Ganguly has come to the defence of Mithali Raj, who was excluded during T20 World Cup semi-final against England recently. India went on to lose the match by 8 wickets. Mithali’s exclusion from women’s national team had sparked outrage on social media with many pundits questioning the rationale behind the decision to drop a player, who’s been a legend in her game.
Ganguly told news agency PTI that he wasn’t surprised to a champion player such as Mithali being made to sit out despite her great track record. He recalled how he too was made to sit in the dugout despite having performed exceptionally well in the international level and leading India to innumerable wins
“When I saw Mithali Raj being dropped, I said ‘Welcome to the group. 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 was quoted as saying.
Ganguly advised Mithali to remember that there had more opportunities left and she ought to remember that ‘you’re the best because you did something.’ “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,” he added.
Indian women’s team captain Harmanpreet Kaur’s decision to exclude Mithali had evoked angry reactions from the latter’s manager, who called the the former ‘manipulative.’
Annisha Gupta took to Twitter to slam Kaur in a series of tweets. In one tweet Gupta called Kaur ‘manipulative, lying immature, undeserving captain.’ She wrote, “Unfortunately @BCCIWomen believes in politics not sport. After witnessing what @M_Raj03 ‘s experience could do in IndvIre [Mithali Raj scored 51 runs against Ireland] it’s shocking that they went with what pleases @ImHarmanpreet -a manipulative, lying, immature, undeserving captain.” In her subsequent tweet, she called Kaur a ‘cheat.’
Gupta’s reaction had come after Kaur told media that she had ‘no regrets’ in leaving out Mithali for the semi-finals.