Ramesh Powar on Mithali Raj: In a return statement, the Indian coach has accused Raj of blackmailing and pressurising the coach.
It seems as if the whole drama related to legendary Indian cricketer Mithali Raj and current coach of the Women’s Team Ramesh Powar is not ending anytime soon. After all that had happened during the ICC Women’s World T20, Raj’s letter to BCCI accusing Powar of humiliating her had brought forward her take on the story.
However, with Powar making public his statement, it has presented a whole new angle in the story. In an official report to BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India), Powar has mentioned that the cricketer has threatened to pull out of the Women’s World T20 and announce her retirement if she was not allowed to open.
Furthermore, Powar has accused Raj of ‘blackmailing and pressurising’ coaches and putting her interests ahead of the team’s. “I hope Mithali Raj stops blackmailing, pressurising coaches and also stops putting her interest first than team’s. I hope she will look at the bigger picture & work towards betterment of the Indian women’s cricket,” he wrote.
Powar said that Raj made the first threat on the eve of India’s second group match against Pakistan. According to Powar, it was mainly due to Raj wanting to open the batting while the team management had thought of batting in the middle-order.
“Mithali’s lack of intent to score quickly in practice games prompted us to open with Taniya Bhatia, who always showed intent every time she batted. We used Taniya and D Hemalatha in Powerplay vs New Zealand, which got us 24 runs in 13 balls. It’s not always about individual milestones, it’s always about team strategies and executions,” Powar said.
He added that he was ‘shell-shocked’ when he got to know that Raj was planning such moves in the middle of a world event. The 40-year old added that he was ‘saddened and baffeled’ by the senior player’s attitude.
“Video analyst Mr Pushkar Sawant came to my room with the news that fielding coach Mr Biju George conveyed to him that Mithali is upset about not changing the batting order and not allowing her to open in Pakistan match. She has packed her bags to leave with announcement of retirement in the morning.
“I was shell-shocked to understand why? Team had just beaten one of the top teams [New Zealand] and Mithali Raj a legend is still complaining about her batting position [which she agreed upon] and threatening to leave,” Powar was quoted.
While Raj did open against Pakistan, Powar said that it was because of Raj’s threatening behaviour. “We opened with Mithali Raj due to pressure from travelling selector and Mithali’s threatening behaviour [retirement] to go back home if not given a chance to open the innings,” he added.
This report was e-mailed by Powar to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and the board’s head of cricket operations Saba Karim after he met the duo yesterday.
Read some of the Twitter reactions on the same below:
— Puspita Dey (@Puspita_Dey07) November 23, 2018
Bold call by India to leave out Mithali Raj. Welcome to the Ramesh Powar era. No place for sentiments.
— Shashank Kishore (@captainshanky) November 22, 2018
Harmanpreet is Virat Kohli of cricket . A great player but a bad Captain
— Disha Patani (@disha_pattanii) November 23, 2018
I’m deeply saddened & hurt by the aspersions cast on me. My commitment to the game & 20yrs of playing for my country.The hard work, sweat, in vain.
Today, my patriotism doubted, my skill set questioned & all the mud slinging- it’s the darkest day of my life. May god give strength
— Mithali Raj (@M_Raj03) November 29, 2018