What did Nigar Sultana and Smriti Mandhana say on Harmanpreet Kaur’s behaviour?

India’s second successive overseas bilateral series ends with controversy, and the embers of discord are far from extinguishing anytime soon as the comments made by Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur during the post-match presentation didn’t sit well with both the Bangladesh skipper and the board.

India Women's tour of Bangladesh ends in a tie. PC: Twitter
India Women’s tour of Bangladesh ends in a tie. PC: Twitter


India’s recently concluded series against Bangladesh witnessed a string of low-scoring contests in both the 3-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series and the 3-match One-Day International (ODI) series. India won the T20Is 2-1 and rightly as one would expect, Harmanpreet Kaur expressed her concerns about the pitches provided during the series.

Following Harmanpreet’s comment, there seemed to be some improvement in the wickets prepared for the final two games, the 2nd and 3rd ODI, which were comparatively better. The series was on the line for India in the 2nd ODI, following Bangladesh’s win in the opener. However, India’s win in the 2nd ODI allowed them to level the series.

Amidst the high stakes of the series decider, both teams fought tooth and nail to claim victory. Bangladesh’s opening 93-run partnership and Fargana Hoque’s magnificent 107 propelled them to a fiercely competitive total of 225. India’s response saw Smriti Mandhana‘s impressive 59 laying the foundation for a strong start, and Harleen’s extraordinary 77-run knock keeping the game tantalizingly balanced.

After a brief rain delay, Bangladesh launched a determined attack, claiming crucial wickets. However, Jemimah and Meghana displayed nerves of steel, guiding India towards an opportunity to level the series. The tension was palpable as the match reached its climax, but unfortunately, Meghana’s edge to the keeper led to a draw, resulting in the series being shared by both teams.

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A norm in international cricket, the Decision Review System (DRS) wasn’t used in the series, and at first sight, yes, a few decisions seemed to be biased, favoring Bangladesh. The use of local umpires instead of neutral ones left India dissatisfied, and rightfully so. Harmanpreet Kaur didn’t hold back in calling out the biased umpiring, expressing her concerns without hesitation.

Harmanpreet Kaur’s frustration was evident when she was adjourned lbw, and she showed her disappointment by smashing the stumps, resulting in a fine of 50% of her match fees. However, her discontent didn’t stop there. During the post-match presentation, she boldly called out the biased umpiring and reportedly confronted the Bangladesh side when they approached to pose with the trophy. She said, “Why are you only here? You haven’t won the match. The umpires did it for you. Call them up.” The Indian skipper is fined 25% of her match fees for her comments during the post-match presentation.

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In the post-series presser, Nigar Sultana jibed Kaur, stating, “As a player, she should have spoken with a bit of manners. It’s completely her matter and I would not want to make any comments on her. There were some talks which I cannot disclose. But I felt the environment was not right and so we left the place. Cricket is a respectful sport and is a gentlemen’s game. The umpires wouldn’t have given them out had they not been out.”

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India’s vice-captain, Smriti Mandhana, attended the post-series presser and backed her skipper, stating, “We expect a little better level – I would term it in a better way that, better level of umpiring in terms of some decisions, because it was very evident in some decisions, there was not even a second thought given if the ball hit the pad. I am sure that ICC, the BCB, and the BCCI will definitely have a discussion on that, maybe we have a neutral umpiring system.”

The latest development on this is that Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel, Head of the Women’s Division of Bangladesh Cricket Board, who was surprised by Harmanpreet’s behavior on the field of play and after the match, said, “We completely agree with all the decisions made by the umpire. There is no opportunity to question the umpire’s decision. As said I think we will have a board-to-board talk.”

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