The ICC World T20 is over. Unrest in the dressing room has denied India a possible chance of winning the coveted trophy.
However, Allegations and counter allegations continue between Veteran Mithali Raj, is in the centre of the dispute, and the ‘team management’. After coach Ramesh Powar has accused the former India captain of threatening to retiring in the midst of the World T20, the veteran batter has sharply reacted to the accusations.
Mithali, breaking her silence in public, finally took to Twitter early morning today (Thursday).
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
“I’m deeply saddened & hurt by the aspersions cast on me. My commitment to the game & 20 years 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,” read the tweet on Mithali’s official twitter handle @M_Raj03.
Earlier, Powar had accused that Mithali threatened to retire midway through the World T20 after being denied the opening slot, Indian women’s cricket coach Ramesh Powar has alleged in his report to the BCCI which also accuses the senior player of throwing tantrums and creating chaos, adds PTI.
In the report, in possession of PTI, Powar presented his version of the events that led to the breakdown of his equation with the seasoned batter. Powar’s report comes a day after the Mithali alleged that the former spinner was out to destroy her and humiliated her during the tournament in the West Indies.
Powar’s 10-page tour report is almost entirely focussed on Mithali, taking up nearly five pages in all. He met BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and GM (Cricket Operations) Saba Karim at the Board headquarters in Mumbai on Wednesday to submit it.
“I hope Mithali stops blackmailing, pressurising coaches and putting her interest first than the team,” Powar said while summarising Mithali’s performance on the tour.
Powar said the decision to push her down the order was taken after due consultation with her but still led to a furore.
“Before Pakistan match, video analyst Pushkar Sawant came to my room and said that fielding coach Biju George has conveyed to him that Mithali is upset with batting order and packed her bags with announcement of retirement in the morning,” Powar wrote in his report.
“I was saddened by her attitude and it gave me an impression that Mithali Raj comes first and then India. She threw a lot of tantrums and created a lot of chaos,” he stated.
Mithali’s controversial dropping from the semifinal against England, which India lost by eight wickets, triggered a storm and the 35-year-old has said that the axing left her in tears.
Responding to Mithali’s charge that he asked her to not even show up at the ground for the league match against Australia, Powar said he merely asked her to rest at the hotel to recover from a niggle.
“She couldn’t understand her role and adapt to the team plan and played for her personal milestones,” the former Mumbai and India off-spinner wrote.
Powar also wrote that she couldn’t field outside the inner circle due to fitness issues and that her attitude affected the team’s preparations for the semifinals.
“Her irresponsible behaviour took my time away as I was supposed to speak with few players regarding preparations of all important semifinal match, which could not happen,” he alleged.
“It’s not always about individual milestones, it’s always about team strategies and executions (team first).”
On Tuesday, Raj had also accused Committee of Administrators member Diana Edulji of bias. The ODI captain stated that Edulji used her position against her and made her feel vulnerable.
Edulji has not yet reacted to the allegations made by Raj. The 40-year-old Powar’s interim tenure comes to an end on Friday.
Even though he will be free to apply for the post when fresh applications are invited, there is little chance that he will be retained as his player management skills have come under the scanner due to this incident.
Meanwhile, Sunil Gavaskar has come out in support of Mithali, saying he empathised with the veteran batter. “I feel sorry for Mithali. She has a very good point. She has served Indian cricket for 20 years. She scored runs. She won player of the match in both matches (she played at the World T20),” Gavaskar had told India Today.
“She was injured for one game but fit for the next game. Just convert this situation into the men’s game. If you had a Virat Kohli who was injured for one game and then is fit for the knockout, will you leave him out? You have to pick your best player for the knockouts. You needed the experience and expertise of Mithali Raj,” Gavaskar added.
Gavaskar said it was difficult to comment on Powar’s role from a distance and added that he did not agree with the Indian team’s reason behind Mithali’s omission.
“What happened with Powar… is very difficult to comment on that from here. It’s difficult to accept whatever the reason was. They said they wanted to stick with the same team, I don’t think that’s a good enough excuse. You can’t drop someone like Mithali Raj,” he said.