Mithali Raj's exclusion from the Indian women's playing XI for the semi-final against England on Friday ruffled a few feathers in cricketing circles. Now, speaking up on the matter, Committee of Administrators (CoA) member Diana Edulji said that the "Indian women had a bad day" and "the playing XI cannot be questioned". India's dreams of winning a maiden ICC title shattered with an eight-wicket loss to England in Antigua.
"I think too much is being made out of it. The management (captain Harmanpreet Kaur, coach Ramesh Powar, vice-captain Smriti Mandhana and selector Sudha Shah) made the decision of not changing a winning combination and that backfired. If India had won the game, I am sure nobody would have questioned their decision," Edulji, a former India captain, told PTI.
"We can't be questioning the team eleven. Another example is of Krunal Pandya, who was thrashed in the first T20 but bounced back strongly yesterday. These things happen in the game," she said, referring to the men's team's six-wicket win in the third T20I against Australia on Sunday.
Mithali, who had missed the last pool game against eventual champions Australia as she was recovering from a knee injury, was available for the crucial game against England. In the two innings Mithali played in the tournament, she scored 51 and 56, against Ireland and Pakistan respectively.
Harmanpreet defended the decision to keep Mithali out of the eleven, saying "whatever we decided, we decided for the team".
However, she was slammed by Mithali's manager Annisha Gupta, who claimed that the 35-year-old was a victim of politics and favouritism. Edulji said Gupta's comments were uncalled for. "As I see it. It was just a bad day for India. The batting failed and when England were chasing, the dew made it tougher for the bowlers. The performance was unexpected, especially after the big win against Australia.
"I wish they had a bad game like that earlier in the competition and not in the all-important semi-final. The girls now have a New Zealand tour coming up, they must move on from this loss and work harder on their game," she said. Edulji also made it clear that no CoA meeting has been planned yet with captain Harmanpreet and Mithali.
"It was a selection matter. There is no need for the CoA to intervene. If they want to have a word with us, then that can be looked at. We only step in when it is required, like it was when Tushar Arothe stepped down," she said.
Arothe, the then coach, had to quit in July after he developed differences with the senior players over his training methods.
(With PTI inputs)