No mean achievement, says Shantha

Team needs to be applauded despite loss, says ex-skipper

Despite Sunday’s crushing loss, India’s run to the T20 World Cup final was “no mean achievement,” believes Shantha Rangaswamy, former India skipper and current member of the BCCI Apex Council.

“We have to give the team credit,” Shantha said. “To focus just on the defeat and not on the earlier wins is not fair. We should congratulate Harmanpreet Kaur and team.”

The failure of India’s premier batters Harmanpreet, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues and Veda Krishnamurthy in the competition had made the team over-reliant on the teenaged Shafali Verma.

“The final was the first match Shafali didn’t click and you saw the collapse. Harman’s form is causing concern. Jemimah is perhaps one of the best we have; an excellent fielder, great bat and a future captain. But it’s time they justify the ‘senior’ tag.”

Shantha felt there was immense scope for Shafali to improve. “She is an exciting talent and we want her to play long-term. For that she needs to get fitter. She has brilliant hand-eye coordination like [Virender] Sehwag and [Kris] Srikkanth, but her fielding and running between the wickets are below par.”

However, despite the bitter after taste of defeat, Shantha was certain the tournament would have a positive effect.

“After the 2017 World Cup final (that India lost), the number of women taking up cricket tripled, even quadrupled. Broadening the base is our dire need, and, in that context, Harman and team have done well.”

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