Former captain Diana Edulji has no qualms in saying that India’s U-19 stars fielded way better in their victorious T20 World Cup campaign in comparison to the seniors’ effort in South Africa and reckons that most of them will struggle if the ‘yo yo’ test becomes mandatory in women’s cricket.
Edulji, who was part of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee which ran the BCCI for 33 months, was appalled at the fielding effort displayed by India in the T20 World Cup semifinal in Cape Town on Thursday.
Speaking to PTI, Edulji said the poor standard of fitness was responsible for the team’s ordinary fielding and running between the wickets. She also thought skipper Harmanpreet Kaur was casual while running the second run before the bat got stuck in the ground and led to a game-changing run out.
With another T20 World Cup scheduled in September next year, Edulji wants the BCCI to appoint permanent support staff in the women’s team rather getting personnel from the NCA on an ad-hoc basis.
“Most will fail yo yo test”
Edulji slammed the fitness levels of the current squad, saying the triumphant U-19 World Cup winning squad looked fitter.
“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).
“The BCCI must have 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 a different criteria for them for acceptable fitness standards. Right now there is no accountability on that front,” she told PTI a day after India’s five run loss in the semifinals.
India were poor in their fielding and catching while Australia were brilliant, making the difference in the end.
“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.
“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.
“Harman was casual while taking the second run”
Harmanpreet’s run out was the turning point of the game and Edulji felt the India skipper could have done better.
“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.
“Shafali’s shot selection is poor”
Though still a teenager, Shafali Verma is into her fourth year of international cricket. She was below par in the World Cup and did not have the best of times in the U-19 World Cup where she was captain.
“If Shafali Verma thinks she can’t be dropped then she is mistaken. I would like to see videos of her getting out, which ball has been good enough to get her out? Her shot selection is so poor.
“Even in the U-19 World Cup, she did not perform with the bat though the team won. Let the other U-19 opener (Shweta Sehrawat) come in and take her place.
“And what was the need for Jemimah for play that shot? You just got a four before, read the game a little more considering the game situation.
“Smriti and Harman too have been inconsistent that is why India have not won a major tournament. The talent is there but they have to be given rigourous training. We have enough firepower in the batting department.” Edulji feels a change in leadership will not make much of a difference.
“A captain is as good as the team. if Smriti comes in, same players are there. It won’t make much of a difference. Also it’s high time that musical chairs of the support staff is stopped. What is the bowling coach doing? The bowling has deteriorated. Spinners have completely gone out of form.
“With great difficulty we beat Pakistan, West Indies. We should have gone all out against England to escape Australia in the semifinals. They struggled against Ireland too. Okay these were tired (over used) wickets but everyone was playing on the same surface,” added Edulji.