Smriti Mandhana’s knack of taking responsibility while being consistent makes her the ideal candidate to replace the veteran Mithali Raj at the helm, former captain Shantha Rangaswamy said on Sunday after India’s elimination in the group stage in the ODI Women’s World Cup. The Mithali Raj-led side, who were the last edition’s runners-up, lost to South Africa by three wickets to make a premature exit from the showpiece, capping an inconsistent show.
Even as she has stopped short of calling it quits, Mithali’s 23-year-old international career may have come to an end with the defeat.
Talking to PTI, Shantha said her choice for the next captain is Smriti and not the India star batter Harmanpreet Kaur.
“Mithali can go on if she wants to… Smriti should lead. Harman is a proven match-winner and star player but captaincy needs taking responsibility and playing consistently well. Additional responsibility of captaincy may weigh Harman down,” Shantha said.
“It will put an additional burden on Harman. Smriti can handle that better. Her temperament is suited to captaincy,” the BCCI Apex Council member added.
India had started out as favourites and had a perfect build-up to the tournament playing series against South Africa, England, Australia and hosts New Zealand just before the tournament.
Having started off with a win over Pakistan, India crashed to a 62-run defeat to New Zealand after being bowled out for 198.
In the next match, they bounced back to defeat the West Indies by 155 runs but only to suffer two defeats on the trot, against defending champions England and Australia.
Against England, they folded for just 134 to suffer a four-wicket defeat.
“The expectations were high since they finished runners-up last time. The results came to those who played consistently throughout.
India especially in the England game, they were skittled out. Luck played its part too.
“England played badly initially and then bounced back to qualify. Overall, India played well, there’s nothing to be ashamed of,” she said.
A no-ball by Deepti Sharma when she had the wicket of well-set Mignon du Preez also turned the tide against India in the final over, as South Africa clinched a last-ball thriller.
“The no-ball today also went against them, luck again played a part. But they were inconsistent. If you look at the last one year, Smriti and Mithali have been consistent,” she signed off.
Topics mentioned in this article