The Mithali Raj exclusion controversy is refusing to die with both parties intensifying their attacks at each other as they look to justify their stand in the case and come out clean. An explosive report by Indian coach Ramesh Powar has once again brought the incident to the forefront with Mithali Raj lashing out at Powar’s noting’s, emphasizing once again that there are some elements in Indian cricket who are out to defame her and wreck her career.
“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,” Raj wrote in a tweet, responding to the allegations made by Powar in which he has blamed Raj of “blackmailing” and “pressurising coaches”, and playing for her own milestones.
Coming back to Mithali Raj exclusion controversy, in the 10-page report written to the BCCI officials on Thursday, the head coach of India Women’s team coach Powar accused Raj of not playing for the team and chasing after “own milestones” during the World T20 tournament. He also went onto describe an incident when Raj had threatened to pack her bags and leave the tournament if not made to open against Pakistan.
“Mithali Raj – a senior player in the team. Minimum inputs in team meetings not a single word of appreciation after finishing at the top of the table. Could not understand & adapt to team plan. Ignored her role and batted for own milestones. Lack of keeping the momentum going which was putting extra pressure on other batters,” he wrote in an email addressed to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and General Manager of Cricket Operations Saba Karim.
“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. I was saddened and baffled by her attitude. It gave me an impression that for Mithali Raj she comes first and then team India. I called team manager early in the morning and discussed the issue,” he went onto mention in his report.
After Pakistan game she was moving around with an attitude. Making her own group with selected few players sitting away from the team. As a head coach I was very disappointed & saddened to see legend like her dividing a team in two groups.
Powar’s report is the latest set of evidence admitted to the BCCI as they look to bring an end to the fiasco. Captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Mithali Raj had earlier met with top BCCI officials this week in a bid to clear up the air around the controversy.
Earlier Raj had accused CoA member Dana Edulji of bias and coach Ramesh Powar of humiliating her at the recently concluded world cup. In her version of events, Raj had gone onto say, “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.”
Despite not knowing which side’s version of the story is true, the debacle has blown open several other incidents which once again highlight politics at play present in Indian cricket
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