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“How Can A Legend Of Her Stature…”: Bangladesh Captain Nigar Sultana ‘Pained’ By Harmanpreet Kaur’s Off-field Conduct

Much has already been talked and written about the India versus Bangladesh women’s series, with Harmanpreet Kaur handed a two-match ban for her on and off-field conduct. Opening up on the bitterly contested series, Bangladesh skipper Nigar Sultana Joty said the umpiring issue was raised because India did not win. Asked if Nigar Sultana Joty agrees that Harmanpreet had done things in the heat of the moment and while it was indeed a mistake such things happen in sports, she responded saying on Revsportz, “You are right in saying such things happen in sports and it is not the first time. You are also right in saying that it happened in the heat of the moment.

“However, had it been restricted to the field of play, honestly speaking I would not have felt bad about it or felt disappointed. I would have told my players that it was all in the intensity of the moment and it is better than all of us moved on from it. But what really disappointed me was that it was not restricted to the field of play. Let me tell you something. For my players too Harmanpreet is a legend of the game. They too look up to her. And when they came and said to me how can a legend of her stature do this to us, I felt sad and disappointed. That’s what has pained me the most.”

Repeatedly asked in the press conference what transpired on the fireld, Joty chose to keep silent on the matter. While the footage of the prize distribution ceremony has gone viral, not much is known about what was really said out there.

Asked if Joty could have reacted differently as opposed to taking her team off the field, she said, “There are certain things that are permissible in sport and there are certain things that are not. By the time of the prize giving the game was over. The match had ended and it was over and done with. Off the field, we are all players who play the same sport and should have respect for each other. That’s what we are taught in sports and that’s what I believe in. To tell you the truth I had felt that whatever may have happened earlier Harmanpreet and Smriti would walk up to my girls and give them a pat on their back after the match was over and tell them well played.”

She added, “Coming from players of their calibre and stature it would have meant the world for our girls. I have seen legends like M S Dhoni or Virat Kohli do this after a game is over. I am sure you have seen this happen after many IPL games or even international games. When it did not happen and she said things which were disrespectful and hurtful during the prize giving, I decided to walk away with my team. I did not want to stay there anymore and add to the occasion. Someone had to end it and by walking away I did so. We shouldn’t let unpleasant things go on and by walking away I tried to put an end to things.”

On the India’s charge of poor umpiring, she said, “The very same umpires officiated in the T-20 series which India won. In fact, that too was a very close series and I feel we should have done better in the second game and won it but we did not. But that is not the point here. The moot point is the very same umpires officiated in the T-20 series as well. There was not a single complaint from India. Is it because they had won the series? Had they won the final ODI, would they have raised the issue of umpiring or was it raised because they did not win the series and they were disappointed and frustrated with the result? We have always been taught as cricketers to respect the umpire’s decision as final and move on.”

Joty said she hoped this series could open the WPL doors for her players. “Players do the best they can to get better. To get better you need more opportunities. To see my players play in the WPL or in the BBL or the Hundred will be a dream come true for me. That’s why we play this game, isn’t it? And from what we have been able to show against India we do have the potential to be very good cricketers. Our players have the potential to make it big and if this series opens up doors for some of them, that’s the best outcome possible. It has also given us the confidence of doing well in future tournaments and I am sure the girls will take the field with greater self-confidence and self-belief in future. This series could well turn out to be a watershed moment for the game in Bangladesh,” she added.

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