Kolkata, Nov 25: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Sunday said he was not surprised by India women’s cricket team’s decision to drop senior pro Mithali Raj for their World T20 World Cup semifinal loss to England.
Despite scoring back to back half centuries, the ODI captain was rested for the final league stage game against Australia due to a knee injury and didn’t figure in the semis too.
“No! I have also sat out in the dug out after captaining India. When I saw Mithali Raj being dropped, I said ‘Welcome to the group’,” Ganguly said while addressing a gathering at the Tollygunge Club here.
Citing his example during the Greg Chappell era, Ganguly said: “Captains are asked to sit, so just do it. I have done it in Faisalabad. I didn’t play an ODI game for 15 months when I was probably the best performer in one-day cricket… It happens in life. The best in the world are at times shown the door,” the 46-year-old said recalling the 2006 second Test against Pakistan.
Ganguly said it’s not the end of the world for Mithali.
“You should always remember you’re best because you did something and there’s an opportunity again. So, I am not too disappointed seeing Mithali being asked to sit out. I have not been disappointed to see the reactions on the ground.
“But I am disappointed because India lost the semifinals because I thought they had the team to go the distance. It happens as they say there’s no guarantee in life. Do the best,” expressed Ganguly.
“Women’s cricket had had a lot of hurdles last few years and very rightly so. It’s good to see that they have been looked after now and paid good numbers,” the former India captain further opined.
Ganguly was also asked about MS Dhoni, who has not been in the best of form for some time now and is not part of the current T20I and ODI side in Australia.
“He’s another champion… Fantastic career for 12-13 years since winning the World Twenty 20. Just like everyone else he has to perform. There’s one must in life: whatever job you do, wherever you are, whatever age you have, how much experience you have, you have to keep performing at the top level otherwise someone else will take your place,” Ganguly pointed out.
“I wish him (Dhoni) all the luck because we want champions to go on a high, whenever he goes. I still feel he can hit the ball in the stands. He’s a phenomenal cricketer,” Ganguly said.
Remembering President Pervez Musharraf’s admiration of Dhoni during 2006 tour, the Kolkata lad said: “I still remember Pervez Musharraf asking me from where did you get him? ‘I told him he was walking near the Wagah border and we pulled him in’,” Ganguly said in a lighter note.
Asked about his take on the 2019 World Cup lineup, Ganguly said: “I am not a selector but I expect 85-90 per cent of the current team will play in the World Cup.”
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