Year-ender 2018: India women's team review: Controversial end to breakout year
The semi-final exit from the World T20 brought to surface tensions bubbling within the system.
The dominance of Australia and England over the women s game had somewhat been mitigated in the year 2017 when India made it to the final of the ICC Women s Cricket World Cup, and the rise of the women s game through the Women s Big Bash League in particular has given the game a great fillip.
On the back of individual players breaking new ground, Indian women s cricket appears to have turned a corner in the year 2018, even though in some crucial moments they let the opportunity for silverware slip. And yet, that wasn t the highlight of the year that was for Indian women s cricket, as their semi-final exit from the ICC Women s World T20 brought to surface tensions bubbling within the system.
After beginning the year with a 2-1 ODI series victory in South Africa, the women s team was whitewashed at home by Australia, won against England, surrendered their stranglehold on the Asia Cup, and then exited the World T20 in the West Indies that was followed by a public spat between coach Ramesh Powar and senior player Mithali Raj.
Despite the controversial end to 2018, Indian women s cricket grew by leaps and bounds thanks to the BCCI introducing central contracts, handing out Grade A contracts to their senior-most players, while more teams introduced in the domestic cricket set-up only signals more opportunities for budding cricketers from across the country. The addition of live coverage of women s cricket matches has given India s women s cricket stalwarts the opportunity to reach millions of homes in India, as they continue to make their mark even in domestic leagues across the world.
ODIs: P 12 W 6 L 6
T20Is: P 25 W 16 L 7 NR 2
The year may have started on a strong note collectively, but the biggest personal milestone for an Indian woman cricketer has to trump their series victory in South Africa. Smriti Mandhana, all of 22, ended the year as ICC s Women s Player of the Year. A year after Harmanpreet Kaur had taken India to the final of the Women s World Cup with an innings for the ages, Mandhana came along to score 699 runs during the year, becoming only the second Indian after Jhulan Goswami to be awarded the honour.
A disappointing run at the ICC Women s World T20 saw her being dropped from the semi-final against England, which India lost eventually, but Mithali Raj s stocks fell through the ranks thanks to the public spat she had with then coach Ramesh Powar. India s senior-most batter appears to have fallen out of favour with some of her team-mates as well.
Lined up in 2019:
January: 3 ODIs vs New Zealand Women (away)
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