‘Mithali Raj can move on if she wants to, Smriti Mandhana should lead’: Shantha Rangaswamy on Next India captain

Smriti Mandhana’s habit of constantly taking responsibility makes her the ideal candidate to replace veteran Mithali Raj, former captain Shantha Rangaswamy said after India’s group stage exit in the ODI Women’s World Cup on Sunday.

The Mithali Raj-led side, who were the runners-up of the previous edition, were prematurely out of the showpiece after losing to South Africa by three wickets, delivering an inconsistent performance.

Even if she has stopped calling it quits, Mithali’s 23-year-old international career would have ended in defeat.

Talking to PTI, Shanta said that her choice for the next captain is memory and not India’s star batsman Harmanpreet Kaur.

“Mitali can go ahead if she wants… Smriti should take the lead,” he said. Harman is a proven match winner and star player but the captaincy needs to take responsibility and play consistently. The additional responsibility of captaincy can ease Harman,” said Shanta.

“It will put an additional burden on Harman. Memory can handle this better. His nature is conducive to captaincy.”

India started off as the favorites and built a perfect for the tournament-playing series against South Africa, England, Australia and hosts New Zealand just before the tournament.

After starting with a win over Pakistan, India lost to New Zealand by 62 runs after being bowled out for 198.

In the next match, he came back to defeat West Indies by 155 runs, but suffered two consecutive defeats against defending champions England and Australia.

Against England, he scored just 134 runs in a four-wicket loss.

“The expectations were high as they were the runners-up last time. The result came for those who played consistently the entire time. In the game of India especially England, he was knocked out. Luck also played its part.

“England played poorly in the beginning and then came back to qualify. Overall, India played well, there is nothing to be ashamed of.”

A no-ball from Deepti Sharma, when she had the wicket of a well-set Mignon du Preez, also turned the tide against India in the final over, as South Africa secured a last-ball thriller.

“Today’s no ball also went against him, luck played a part again. But they were inconsistent. If you look at the last one year, Smriti and Mithali have consistently performed well.

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