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Harmanpreet Kaur: Top 5 controversies involving the Indian captain

With a recent incident where she broke the stumps with a bat and slammed the umpires in the post-match presentation, Harmanpreet Kaur is once again in controversies. And it is not the first time

Harmanpreet Kaur controversy

Harmanpreet Kaur controversy

BS Web Team New Delhi
Harmanpreet Kaur and controversies seem to be going hand in hand ever since the swashbuckling batter was promoted as skipper of the T20I side in 2016. The latest involves Harman losing her temper and breaking the stumps with her bat on being given out LBW against Bangladesh. But before this, the Indian captain has been part of several other controversies too. 

Spirit of Cricket controversy involving Deepti Sharma 

Not long ago, Harmanpreet Kaur defended teammate Deepti Sharma after the latter ran out England women's cricket team batter Charlie Dean in the third ODI of the three-match series in September 2022. Dean was backing up far too much. With the partnership for the 10th wicket looking unbreakable and England needing 17 more in 39 balls to win, Deepti used her mind to run the non-striker out. 

Many criticised Kaur for not calling Dean back according to the spirit of cricket. But the Indian skipper defended her teammate and said that all was fair and square by the laws of cricket. India swept the ODI series 3-0. 

Read more about that here- Deepti Sharma was right by law and by spirit: Peter Della Penna shows why

Controversy with Mithali Raj's exclusion from playing 11

After being appointed as India’s T20I captain in November 2016, Harmanpreet led the side in a World Cup for the first time in the 2018 Women's T20 World Cup in West Indies. India managed to reach the semi-finals of the event. 

Senior batter and former captain Mithali Raj, who scored back-to-back fifties against Pakistan and Ireland, suddenly found herself excluded from the playing 11 in the league match against Australia. In her place, a fast-bowling all-rounder Arundhati Reddy was put in the playing 11.

While Mithali vented out her anger post the World Cup against coach Ramesh Powar, her manager Annisha Gupta lambasted skipper Kaur in a tweet which was later deleted. 

In the tweet, Gupta said, “Unfortunately @BCCIWomen believes in politics not sport. After witnessing what @M_Raj03 's experience could do in IndvIre it's shocking that they went with what pleases @ImHarmanpreet -a manipulative, lying, immature, undeserving captain,”

Gupta stuck to her words in an interview with ESPNCricinfo later on as well.
 
Harman wrote in favour of Powar and against Mithali 

India lost in the semi-final to England in the 2018 Women's T20 World Cup post a batting failure. It was a match in which Mithali was not part of that playing 11 once again. BCCI received an official complaint from Mithali after the World Cup. The former skipper wanted coach Powar out of the side. But Harman and her vice-captain Smriti Mandhana allegedly wrote letters in support of the then coach. 

Harman even put a statement in the media saying that if Powar was removed Team India would have to start from scratch. She was criticised by former India cricketer and cricket commentator Sanjay Manjrekar for her remarks. 

Later on, Harman would go on to clarify herself in a chat with renowned cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle on Cricbuzz. 

"There were such people, it's not the right platform to take the names. Because they are the biggies, some very big cricketers. When a team reaches certain stature, such things happen. Mithali Di is a lot senior to me. 

I haven’t played half the amount of cricket she has played. She has been playing cricket for 20 years, there’s no comparison between her and me," said the Indian skipper about Mithali.

Degree called fake, demoted from DSP’s rank in Punjab Police

Just before the Mithali Raj issue, Harman was embroiled in yet another controversy. This one though was not related to cricket. After her brilliant showing in the 2017 Women’s ODI World Cup where she hit 171 against Australia in the semi-final to take India to the summit clash, Punjab-born Harman was offered the honorary rank of DSP in Punjab Police as a reward for her performances. 

The then Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh and then Railway Minister Piyush Goyal facilitated the smooth transition of Harman’s job from Indian Railways to Punjab Police. But only months after this joy came the sorrow for the Indian all-rounder as she was allegedly demoted from the rank of DSP to Constable on grounds of producing a fake graduation degree from Chaudhary Charan Singh University in Meerut. 

Clarifying on the issue Harman told Times of India,  “When you did your graduation, did you go to the head office to verify your enrollment number? Nobody does that. I did exactly the same thing. If I am playing, my focus is obviously on cricket. 

Apart from that, I just wanted to complete my graduation. On the basis of my graduation certificate, I took admission in post graduation course in a different university but could never take my exams because of overseas tournaments. Today, that very degree is being called fake.”

“I completed my graduation through distance learning from Chaudhary Charan Singh University in 2009-11. Earlier, I was pursuing my graduation from a college in Jalandhar, where I did my first year. Thereafter, I was not able to pursue it as my cricket schedule and the examination dates used to clash always. Besides, as the college principal had changed, and they did not like me pursuing sports, they did not adjust exam timings as per my cricket schedule. So, I had to migrate to another university. I have been playing for India after completing my Class XII," she explained further. 

Breaking the stumps and slamming the umpires

The recent controversy involves Bangladesh women’s team. Bangladesh and Indian cricket teams (men's senior, U-19 Men’s A and women’s senior) have seen too many controversies in the recent past and Harman’s was an addition to that. 

Not only did an infuriated Harman break the stumps with her bat on being given out LBW, she even went on to criticise the umpires in her post-match presentation speech, saying that India would have to come prepared for such low standards of umpiring when they visit Bangladesh next. 

If the 34-year-old Indian skipper had stopped there, it would have still been okay, but in the post-match photograph session, she allegedly shouted to the Bangladesh team to invite the umpires to share the trophy as well. It was termed very demeaning and mannerless by her counterpart Nigar Sultana Joty.

Read more on that here- Explained: Why did Harmanpreet Kaur break stumps, slam Bangladesh umpires?

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First Published: Jul 24 2023 | 3:37 PM IST

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