Mithali Raj should have played semifinal given her experience, big-match nous

Mithali Raj was told after the warm-up session that she doesn't feature in the playing XI.

Mithali Raj with her coach, R. S. R. Murthy, during a practice session.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam

India’s leading run-getter in women’s cricket history and former captain, Mithali Raj, is “crestfallen”, according to her personal coach R. S. R. Murthy of South Central Railway.

It may be mentioned here that Mithali has actually been dropped for the crucial semifinal against England in the T20 World Cup in Antigua (West Indies) on Friday morning.

For all those who watched the game, images of Mithali sitting in the dressing room watching her team-mates with a grim face even as the team eventually lost the match sent mixed signals.

Initially, it was believed that she was actually rested because of an injury but that was not the case.

“Mithali was told after the warm-up session on the morning of the semifinal that she doesn’t figure in the playing eleven, leaving her terribly disappointed,” says Murthy in a chat with Sportstar.

“Only last night, I spoke to her and she looked mentally and physically geared up for the semifinal and even hinted that she might not open but would play in the middle-order,” he said. “I told her just to enjoy batting in any position she gets a chance,” he added.

“But, apparently, the coach and the captain Harmanpreet Kaur took the call to drop her,” Murthy said even while reminding that it is their prerogative to pick the final eleven.

“However, given Mithali’s stature and the fact that she was the player of the match twice in this World Cup, logically she should have been there given her experience and class for such a big match,” says the coach who always trains her whenever the India star player is in Hyderabad at the St. John’s Coaching Foundation.

“What is even more extremely disappointing is the statement by the captain that she doesn’t regret dropping Mithali for the semifinal. This is not the way to treat someone who gave her everything for the game,” Murthy said.

It is said that Mithali expressed “disgust and how humiliated” she was after being denied a chance to go on a high and with dignity - for she has already announced that this will be her last T20 World Cup!