Veteran Indian women’s cricketer Mithali Raj on Thursday responded to coach Ramesh Powar’s stinging accusations in a report deposited to the BCCI, stating that all her hard work through her career had been in vain. Powar in his report to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and General Manager of Cricket Operations Saba Karim had accused the batswoman of “blackmailing” and “pressurizing coaches”.
“I’m highly saddened & hurt by the aspersions cast on me. My commitment to the game & 20yrs of playing for my India. The hard work, sweat, in vain,” Raj wrote in a tweet.
The cricketer commented that it was the darkest day of her life. “Today, my patriotism doubted, my skill set questioned & all the mudslinging- it’s the darkest day of my life. May God give strength,” she said.
In the 10-page report written to the BCCI officials on Thursday, the head coach of India Women’s team Powar accused Raj of not playing for the team and chasing after “own milestones” during the recently started World T20 tournament.
“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 the team plan. Ignored her play and batted for own milestones. Lack of keeping the momentum going which was putting extra effort on other batters,” he wrote.
“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,” the former Indian all-rounder wrote in the report.
Before, Raj had accused BCCI Committee of Administrators (CoA) member and former player Diana Edulji of bias after she was dropped from for the semi-final against England in the ICC Women’s World T20. She had also slammed Powar for humiliating her.
In a letter to the BCCI, she wrote, “To put things in perspective, I have always reposed faith in Diana Edulji and have always respected her and her position as a member of the COA. Never did I think she will use her position against me, more after hearing what all I had to go through in the Caribbean as I had spoken to her about it.”
She also said a series of instances where she had felt slighted by the coach. “My matter with the coach started immediately as we landed in the West Indies. At first, there were small signs that his behavior towards me was unfair and discriminatory. For example, 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 said.