Senior India player Smriti Mandhana called for the team to be left alone after its 85-run mauling by Australia in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final in Melbourne on Sunday.
Unbeaten throughout the tournament, India were outplayed in all departments of the game by the defending champions, who clinched their fifth world title in the shortest format.
“This is a time to introspect. Failure teaches you a lot more than success. The team needs to be left alone and think of how we can be better in the next few years,” Mandhana said after the match.
A sluggish start with the ball and in the field undermined India’s attempts to overhaul the defending champions in their own backyard with the support of a 86,174 crowd at the iconic MCG.
Mandhana believed India are a transformed team in the shortest format, and she attributed it to head coach WV Raman.
“T20 was never our best format, one-day was definitely the preferred format. Now we’re playing each format equally well. That is one thing the coach has helped us with and we’ve developed massively,” she said.
“The youngsters coming in have totally changed the set-up and the best part of the tournament was it was a complete team performance. That’s one thing Raman has done — developing us as a team not just one or two players. Today, it didn’t work out but we’ve grown as a team, not just as one or two players.”
Mandhana’s disappointing T20 World Cup — that saw her manage a top score of 17 in four innings — continued as India sunk to 99 all out.
She also revealed she told a tearful Shafali Verma to be “really proud” of her performances despite a devastating final. Teen sensation Verma was distraught after getting out for two with the bat and drooping Alyssa Healy on nine.
“Shafali and I were standing together when we were receiving our medals. She was in tears. I told her she had to be really proud of the kind of campaign she’d had. When I played my first World Cup at the age of 16, I couldn’t hit the ball 20 per cent of what she can hit,” said Mandhana.
“She has to be really proud of the way she played, but she was upset with the way she got out. She’s thinking already how she can be better. She should be left alone, that’s the most I can tell her.”