Recently, women’s cricket legend, Mithali Raj, stirred up a storm when she accused coach Ramesh Powar of being “biased” against her. Mithali wrote a letter of Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) questioning her exclusion from the playing XI in Women’s World T20 2018 semi-final against Guyana. She explained her side of the story and how the problems began during the tournament highlighting the discrimination against her.
In reply Powar submitted his report responding to the accusations. He launched a scathing attack against the 35-year-old, accusing her of “blackmailing and pressurising coaches”.
“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 did not just stop there and questioned her focus on the role she was given in the team.
“(She) ignored her role and batted for own milestones. Lack of keeping the momentum going which was putting extra pressure on other batters,”
This is the last thing Indian Women’s Cricket needed, especially at this crucial juncture of time.
In the following excerpt, coach Powar explains why Mithali’s batting position was changed and why was she eventually dropped,
In practice games she was struggling to score quickly, as wickets were low bounce & slow. Intent was missing. Could not lean and execute shots due to limited ability in skills & fitness. We wanted to make most of powerplay as powerplay was most important phase of the match (considering slow pitches) to score big with hard ball & it was challenge to score against spinners.
According to the letter, Mithali did not see the bigger picture and was concerned about her batting position even after India’s emphatic win against New Zealand in the tournament opener.
Before Pakistan match 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 & 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) & threatening to leave. (instead, should be happy with the positive start of World Cup campaign of Team India)
However, Powar denied the contents of the PTI story.
I was shocked to read PTI story about my meeting with the BCCI officials. I totally deny the contents in the story.
— ramesh powar (@imrameshpowar) November 28, 2018
The war between the two is not limited to emails and reports. Mithali took to Twitter to express her disappointment after Powar’s accusations.
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
Powar tried to take a dig at Mithali indirectly
— ramesh powar (@imrameshpowar) November 29, 2018