Sunil Gavaskar has said that he feels "sorry" for Mithali Raj after she was omitted from India’s team against England in the semi-finals of the ICC Women's World T20 2018.
Without Raj – India’s record run-scorer in T20Is – Harmanpreet Kaur’s side succumbed to an eight-wicket defeat, exiting the tournament after they topped Group B.
The Indian batting line-up struggled against the England bowlers, collapsing in spectacular fashion from 89/2 to 112 all out. While Raj missed the final group game against Australia with a knee injury, she starred in India’s previous two group fixtures, hitting half-centuries against Pakistan and Ireland.
Speaking to India Today, Gavaskar empathised with the former captain’s situation.
“I feel sorry for Mithali,” said Gavaskar. “She has served Indian cricket for 20 years. She scored runs. she won Player of the Match in both matches [against Ireland and Pakistan].
"She was injured for one game but fit for the next game. Just convert this situation into the men's game. If you had a Virat Kohli who was injured for one game and is then fit for the knockout, will you leave him out?
"Like in the case of the Windies, it was a matter of the second rung of batters not quite coming to the party."— ICC World Twenty20 (@WorldT20) November 24, 2018
Despite topping their group, India fell short when it mattered.#WT20 | INDIA REPORT CARD👇https://t.co/2WHJWODbm2 pic.twitter.com/YjOOJeiEcI
“You have to pick your best player for the knockouts. You needed the experience and expertise of Mithali Raj."
Gavaskar added that he did not agree with the reasons provided for Raj's omission.
"They said they wanted to stick with the same team, I don't think that's a good enough excuse. You can't drop someone like Mithali Raj."