India yet again faltered in the global event knockout after coming agonizingly close to beating Australia in the first semi-final in Cape Town. Dropping Meg Lanning and Beth Mooney proved costly for Team India as Australia mustered 172 in 20 overs when it could have been 15 runs lesser.
Former Indian skipper Diana Edulji, who served as a member of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) till 2019, slammed the Indian women’s team’s fitness standards and blamed them for not making an effort in that direction. She further stated that the BCCI must crack a whip to get the fitness in order.
"I found the U-19 team much fitter than the seniors. They didn't choke in the final. From 2017 to 2023 it is the same old story (for the senior team),” Edulji told PTI.
"The BCCI must have a proper assessment of players' fitness. I know yo-yo test is a bit tough for women. Out of 15, 12 will fail that test but you have different criteria for them for acceptable fitness standards. Right now there is no accountability on that front.
"You are definitely looking at an overhaul (in terms of planning and preparation after the World Cup loss). They need to improve fitness first of all, their fielding, their catching running between the wickets. Unless you have strength in the legs, you won't be able to run.
Edulji further asked the board for a strict whip, saying that the prevalent star culture in the team has led to the downfall. She asked with another T20 World Cup scheduled in September next year, BCCI should appoint permanent support staff in the women's team rather than getting personnel from the NCA on an ad-hoc basis.
"They need absolute danda (BCCI needs to crack the whip) to reach the top. You are getting everything from the BCCI including equal play.Every time you lose a winning game, it is a habit. BCCI has to take a strong call and not give in to the demands of the players. Have a proper strategy for the future. We have had enough of this star culture. It is not going to work like this," said Edulji.
Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues put up a masterclass and took the attack to Australia, putting up a 69-run stand for the fourth wicket. The Women in Blue were 93/3 at the end of the 10-over mark, needing 80 runs off 60 deliveries. However, Rodrigues departed in the very next over but Harmanpreet kept the required rate under control.
Just when it looked like the Indian captain would finish the game for her team, Harmanpreet was run-out in an unlucky manner. The right-hander slog-swept one towards deep mid-wicket, which had easy two runs written all over it. However, when she back jogging back for the second run, her bat got stuck before the crease and that allowed Alyssa Healy to run her out. Diana Edulji, however, doesn't think that she was unlucky.
"She is thinking the bat got stuck but if you see the second run she was jogging. Why are you running in a relaxed manner when you know when your wicket is so important? You have to play professional cricket to win. Look at the dive Perry made to save those two runs. That is what professionalism is.
"They don't give up till the end and we are not ready to fight at all. You can't be falling at the last hurdle all the time. She was casual on the second run. She thought she would comfortably reach. We were told in the 1970s by Mr. Sunil Gavaskar that every ball you have to learn to ground your bat then only you get into that habit," she said.