Following a close defeat at the hands of U.P Warriorz on Monday, Gujarat Giants ended their inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL) campaign bottom of the table, with just two wins in eight matches, but the franchise’s mentor Mithali Raj believes that losing key players to injuries derailed the team’s season.
Ahead of the season, the Giants had named Australia’s Beth Mooney as skipper but just one game into the season, the 29-year-old suffered a season-ending calf injury which forced GG to elevate Sneh Rana to captaincy. The franchise had also acquired the services of Deandra Dottin at the auction but she was also controversially ruled out of the season with an apparent injury, though she publicly clarified that she was fit to play.
Off-field chaos affected the side’s on-field performance and Mithali rued the same.
“Honestly, we did put up a good team, but the results were not in our favour and the season didn’t go our way. We lost key players early on, and it dented our composition. But despite this hiccup the team stepped up and showed their grit and passion to win,” Mithali said in a release on the franchise’s official website.
Head coach Rachael Haynes echoed the same sentiment, though she stated that the injuries enabled other individuals to showcase their potential.
“As we take a step back and take a moment to pause and reflect at the season, it does hurt to lose out on key players before the end of the first game, and shuffling the deck in terms of playing combinations was not an easy decision, but this allowed every player to showcase their potential and we are happy about it,” Haynes said.
But despite the campaign proving to be a disappointing one result-wise, Haynes asserted that everyone who was part of the Gujarat franchise — whether it be the players, coaches or the support staff — will head back home having taken ‘many positives and pivotal life-lessons’.
“This was certainly, an exciting and enriching experience for me as head coach for such a wonderful team.
“Undoubtedly, we had our tough moments, but the team put up a riveting performance and showed a lot of character during every match. We all are taking with us many positives and pivotal life-lessons from this inaugural session,” Haynes said.