After the controversy during the World T20, the ankle injury was all that Harmanpreet Kaur needed. The controversy that followed the match against West Indies in World T20 took a mental toll on the skipper.
The senior player Mithali Raj was dropped from the team in the match against West Indies during the World T20. It was a collective decision made by the team management and Harmanpreet. The shared decision to drop Mithali from the semi-finals against England led to team division. The coach Ramesh Powar, later, was dismissed from the team.
Harmanpreet participated in the Women’s Big Bash League post the World T20. But the steam to her strained relationship with the ODI captain Mithali rose rapidly. And by the time New Zealand tour began, Harmanpreet was frustrated.
Her ankle injury saved her from the dressing room misery, giving her the “much-needed break” from cricket.
“It (the injury) gave me a much needed break from international cricket and the Indian dressing room. I had almost made up my mind to let my parents know that I wanted to take a break. I don’t want to hold on to a spot in the Indian team just because I am a senior player,” she told ESPNCricinfo.
The pressure became overbearing for her and she desperately wanted a break from the “madness”.
“I wanted to get away from cricket. Whatever happened around the team before that was immensely draining for me. Some of the things said were so far from reality that I felt, ‘I need to step away from this madness for a while’. I’m here to play cricket. If people want to drag me into unnecessary things, drag the team into unnecessary things, I have to stop trying to reason with them,” said the 30-year-old.
Indian Women’s Cricket Team Captain Continued to Play in T20I Despite the Injury.
Harmanpreet twisted her ankle ahead of the first T20I in New Zealand but continued to play.
“I twisted my left foot while playing football during a warm-up ahead of the first T20I in New Zealand (in early February). I somehow managed to play all three T20Is despite being in some discomfort because to call up a replacement at such short notice may not have been possible. Besides, all through my career, I’ve played with fevers, shoulder, ankle and wrist injuries, so I didn’t feel like this was going to be anything significant.
“The taping and painkillers had been working fine in the warm-ups, so I thought I could deal with it. But during the matches, my movement was severely affected. Scans later revealed that there were some Level 1 and 2 ligament tears near the back of my ankle. I was at the National Cricket Academy from February 22 to April 9, and that break was a blessing in disguise for me,” she said.
If cricket is not giving me joy, I am happy to walk away: Harmanpreet Kaur
After coming back from World T20, Harmanpreet was looking forward to playing in the overseas league as well. But the talks around the team took a toll on her mental strength. The negative talk around the team affected her mindset adversely.
“Look, I was to play in the WBBL after the World T20, and for a while, after coming from the West Indies, I was even considering only playing in the overseas leagues and then making my way back into the Indian team. I spent hours alone, asking myself, ‘Why do I play sport?’ Because I enjoy it, because playing cricket is the only thing I’ve ever done in life.
“Agar khelke mazaa nahi aa raha hai (If I’m not enjoying the game) then I don’t want to block a place in the side, because money is not everything. Yes, we’ve only just started making some money from playing cricket, but if cricket is not giving me joy, I am happy to walk away rather than hold on to that spot just because I have a Grade A contract.
And with all the negativity around her, the injury came as a blessing in disguise, exclaimed Harmanpreet. Eventually, she got rest due to ligament tears around her back ankle.