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:
Coach should be removed as soon as possible otherwise he will destroy our women cricket team. @BCCIWomen take stringent action .
— Ashutosh kumar Chaudhary (@ashutosh_chaud) November 27, 2018
Undeserving individuals given enhanced status like coach by lobbying are bound to create problems. Powar ?? Who??? How many ODI runs??? Mumbai Lobby is it??
— neelen (@dampu) November 27, 2018
A legend is being humiliated by someone who had no credentials at all…such people should be sacked and banned from all such posts..players like mithali raj deserves “respect”
— Abhishek Yadav (@Abhishe52209311) November 27, 2018
A legend like her doesn’t deserve to be treated like that such a shame on the part of management who dent country’s chance for settling their own ego
— Wandering introvert (@Nik_Mahendran) November 27, 2018
@imrameshpowar Coz of people like you who comes in as unfit players and later become the head coach of National Team of Womrn’s Cricket, all by the power of politics. Individuals and the whole country suffers. This loss of semi final is on you and we want justice for @M_Raj03
— Ankur Anand (@tuneankur) November 27, 2018
And we saw what the current team did at last after @M_Raj03 was dropped. This looks like a ego tussle of a coach with a senior star player. That guy Romesh Powar should be kicked out of the coach post ,for putting his dirty tricks above the national team’s interests.
— Ajai (@ajai_cs) November 27, 2018
He’s messing with the wrong girl. She won’t leave this lying down. She has done a lot to raise profile of women’s cricket. For that alone, she has earned respect. She deserves to be treated with dignity. I’m South African and I respect her immensely.
— Richardson Mzaidume (@hlubizer) November 27, 2018
How can BCCI SELECTS FAILED CRICKETERS AS COACHES ….. Useless selectors and board members…: cricket is a religion in India, hope Mithali gets justice
— Sripelli (@rSripelli) November 27, 2018
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.