Smriti Mandhana’s talent for taking responsibility while being consistent makes her the ideal candidate to replace veteran Mithali Raj at the helm, former captain Shantha Rangaswamy said on Sunday after India’s elimination from the group stage of the ODI Women’s World Cup. The Mithali Raj-led side, who were runners-up to the previous edition, lost to South Africa by three wickets to make a premature exit from the showpiece, ending an inconsistent show.
Even now that she’s on the run, Mithali’s 23-year international career may have come to an end with the defeat.
Speaking to PTI, Shantha said her pick for the next captain is Smriti and not Indian batter Harmanpreet Kaur.
“Mithali can go on if she wants to… Smriti should lead. Harman is a proven match winner and star player, but the captaincy has to take responsibility and play consistently well. Extra responsibility as captain can weigh heavily on Harman,” said Shantha.
“It will put extra strain on Harman. Smriti can handle that better. Her temperament is suited to captaincy,” added the BCCI Apex Council member.
India had started as the favorite and had a perfect build-up for the tournament series against South Africa, England, Australia and host country New Zealand just before the tournament.
India started with a win over Pakistan and crashed to a 62-run defeat to New Zealand after being eliminated for 198.
In the next match, they bounced back to beat the West Indies by 155 runs, but suffered only two losses at the trot, against defending champions England and Australia.
Against England, they folded for just 134 to suffer a four-wicket defeat.
“Expectations were high since they finished second last time. The results came for those who played consistently.
India, especially in England’s game, they were bowled over. Luck also played a part.
“England initially played poorly and then recovered to qualify. Overall, India played well, there is nothing to be ashamed of,” she said.
A no-ball from Deepti Sharma when she took the wicket of well-seeded Mignon du Preez also turned the tide against India in the final, as South Africa took one last ball thriller.
“Today’s no-ball went against them too, luck played a part again. But they were inconsistent. If you look at last year, Smriti and Mithali have been consistent,” she wrote.
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