Former India captain Shantha Rangaswamy said that Smriti Mandhana would be an ideal choice to lead the Indian team if ODI and Test captain Mithali Raj retires after the conclusion of the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand next year. Harmanpreet Kaur has been the T20 captain since 2016 but she would not be the first choice to replace Mithali in the longer formats due to her not performing consistently as a batsman. At the same time, Mandhana has included herself among the best batsmen in the world.
Shanta led the Indian team to its first Test victory in 1976. He said, ‘Smriti would be an ideal choice after Mithali retires. She has been a great performer for India and should be given a chance to lead the country. Shanta is also a member of the Apex Council of BCCI (Cricket Board of India). He feels that captaincy has influenced Harmanpreet’s batting and believes that the player’s batting is very important for India’s success. Mandhana has played four Tests, 62 ODIs and 84 T20 matches. She recently played in Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League in which she also scored a century against Melbourne Renegades.
Harmanpreet has been battling with form and fitness for the past 12 months. She too did well in the Big Bash League and it remains to be seen whether she continues her form at the top level as well. India’s next tour will be against New Zealand before the World Cup. India was the runner-up in the 2017 World Cup. The Women’s Challenger tournament ends on Thursday. Shanta said that this tournament has shown that there is no dearth of talent in the country. He said that a lot of talent has been shown from this tournament which is good for women’s cricket. It also shows that we are ready for women’s IPL (Indian Premier League).