New Delhi: 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.
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.
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