Women’s T20 World Cup: The BCCI is giving the women’s cricket team everything they could possibly need… They need to perform now, says Diana Edulji

I was very disappointed with the performance of the Indian women’s team at the T20 World Cup in South Africa. This was an excellent chance to win another world title after the Under-19 team won the junior World Cup recently. Unfortunately, the senior team didn’t look like strong contenders during their matches.

We were lucky that the Ireland game (India won by 5 runs; DLS method) got washed out, otherwise, we wouldn’t have reached the semifinals.

That said, we did not surrender as we did in the 2020 World Cup. We tried to fight but glaring mistakes throughout the tournament cost us a place in the final. First was the fielding and then the bowling.

Spinners ineffective

It was surprising that our spinners, who have been our strength, have gone under the radar. The spinners have completely lost form. They were once our trump card.

Deepti Sharma. (BCCI)

Left-arm spinners are bowling without a short-fine leg and deep square. All foreign players love to play sweep shots. We have to change according to the situation. These players are now professionals. There is no excuse now. BCCI’s motto should be perform or perish. Don’t go by just big names anymore. Our fielding was not up to the mark in all the games and the catching was very poor.

The two openers Shafali (Verma) and Smriti (Mandhana) are just not performing. Smriti may have got two fifties but those knocks were inconsequential. She has to take responsibility. It is a 20-over game and if we are expecting No. 7 and 8 to do the job, then it’s unfortunate. We have four batters in the team, who are all world-class. Now, it’s a high time we show the mirror to Shafali. She is young, but just because she is a teenager it does not mean she can get away after batting poorly. She has played in the senior team for the past four years. Shafali has just thrown her wicket away.

Smriti Mandhana. (BCCI)

It is high time the BCCI takes tough calls. The BCCI is giving them everything they could possibly need. They have given them equal pay and the same facilities. They need to perform now. In my era, we didn’t win so much but we had discipline.

The batters also need to work on their shot selection. For example, there was no need for Jemimah Rodrigues to play that shot (attempt to play the ramp shot over the keeper) at that point in time. After all, she was the well-set batter at that point.

I agree with Naseer (Hussain) that Harman’s (Harmanpreet Kaur’s) effort was a schoolgirl’s effort. The bat was in the wrong hand. She should have held her bat in her right hand. Harman was jogging and the bat was in her left hand and it got stuck. Harman should have been in full stretch. Her wicket turned the game. Also, they don’t know this tip-and-run game. Our batters only believe in hitting fours and sixes. But the number of dot balls in between makes a big difference.

Stop musical chairs

Also when it comes to the support staff, the BCCI must stop the musical chairs which are taking place and appoint people who will be accountable for the performance of the women’s team.

The BCCI has spent a lot on the team, so they should be ready to also pay the coaching staff and get good quality coaches — a head coach, a fielding coach, a trainer and others. A trainer must set the parameters for regular Yo-Yo tests like the men’s team has done over the years. The seniors in the team will have to take responsibility for this semifinal exit because this Australian team looked beatable.

Edulji is a former India captain. She spoke to Devendra Pandey

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