Is This How You Treat A Legend? Mithali Raj Talks About The Bias She Faced

Fact: Mithali Raj scored two half-centuries in the tournament becoming the highest T20I run-scorer for India (both male and female)

People were shocked when Mithali Raj was left out of the playing XI in the World T20 semi-finals, despite passing the fitness test. Coach Ramesh Powar and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur decided to go with the wining combination ignoring Mithali’s form in the tournament. The decision came under even more scrutiny when India lost the match comprehensively on a tricky Guyana pitch.

Mithali decided to write a letter to Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI), after former Indian captain and a member of Committee of Administrators (CoA) defended the decision to drop her. The 35-year-old was deeply hurt after Edulji refused to interfere in the controversy.

The Indian ODI skipper alleged that she was sidelined during the tournament and accused Ramesh Powar for the turn of events. Here’s an excerpt from the letter.

“My issues with the coach started immediately as we landed in the West Indies. At first there were small signs that his behaviour towards me was unfair and discriminatory. For instance, walking off if I am sitting anywhere around, watching in the nets when others bat but choosing to walk away when I am batting in nets, if I try to go up to him to talk to start looking into his phone and keep walking. It was embarrassing and very evident to everyone that I was being humiliated. Yet I never lost my cool,”

She conveyed her problems to the manager and confronted Powar in a meeting but it only led to more problems.

“Finding the situation completely out of control and realising that it is important to resolve issues as it affects the team I reached out to the team manager and conveyed my grievances. After the meeting his behaviour turned worse. He would not even acknowledge me. To him I didn’t exist in the team. If I was around he would immediately move away from the scene, if I looked to wish him he would deliberately start looking in other direction. He continued to behave badly as I have already informed you yesterday. It appeared to me that for him the meeting had hurt his ego.”

Mithali also alleged that she was not allowed in the team huddle before the semi-final match. She claimed that she was neglected during the team practice. Apparently, she was even told by Powar to not come to the ground as media will be there.

She also wrote, “I couldn’t control my tears having given it my all for 20 years. It seemed my efforts had no value.”.

“For the first time in a 20 year long career, I felt deflated, depressed and let down. I am forced to think if my services to my country are of any value to a few people in power who are out to destroy me and break my confidence”

Mithali has seen women’s cricket in India evolve from the beginning. It was disheartening to see her in the dugout in what was supposed to be her last T20 World Cup. It is even more disheartening to learn about the kind of treatment meted out to her.

Twitterati lashed out at Powar after the news and demanded justice for Mithali:

She also pointed out that she has nothing against Harmanpreet. She was baffled by her exclusion from the side against England, but wants to resolve her issues personally sitting across a table.

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