Mithali Raj says coach Ramesh Powar ‘humiliated’ her, accuses Diana Edulji of ‘using position against her’
Breaking her silence on the omission from the World T20 semifinal against England that raised quite a few eyebrows after India’s eight-wicket loss, Mithali alleged that Edulji, who had backed her axing, “used her position against me”.
Indian woman cricketer and ODI captain Mithali Raj on Tuesday lashed out at Committee of Administrators’ (CoA) member Diana Edulji and coach Ramesh Powar to finally reveal her side of the story in the whole fiasco that saw the senior pro being dropped from the team for the all-important semi-final clash against England in the recently concluded World T20 in West Indies.
Mithali went on to write a scathing letter to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and GM (cricket operations) Saba Karim and said that a few people in power were trying to destroy her and that Diana Edulji — former woman cricketer and now a part of the CoA — broke her trust.
In the letter accessed by Hindustan Times, Mithali wrote: “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 went on to add that she had no issues with Harmanpreet Kaur and considers her an asset in the Indian team.
“I would also like to point out that I have nothing against the T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur except for the fact that her call to support the decision of the coach to leave me out of the eleven was baffling and hurtful. As India’s 50 over captain, I value Harman as one of our best players and will always want to ensure that the two of us perform our best for India.
“I wanted to win the world cup for my country and it hurts me because we lost a golden opportunity,” she rued.
She went on to slam Diana for defending the team’s decision to drop her. “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 .
“Her brazen support in the press with regard to the decision of my benching in the semifinal of the T20 World Cup has left me deeply distressed, more because she knows the real facts having spoken to me.”
Mithali went on to explain coach Powar’s unprofessional approach towards her and said: “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 but I did not bother much about it. Right from the Sri Lanka tour to Australia A matches I opened the innings and in the World Cup warm up games too I had done the same. One day before the game after I came out of the nets, he walked up to me and informed me that he wanted me to bat in the middle order as we needed depth in the middle order against New Zealand. Not having played middle order in recent times and without practice still , I agreed for the greater cause of the team.
“For me team comes ahead of anything. After the game it was evident that the opening did not work as the team was 3/38 after power-play and yet in the team meeting the next day he informed me that we are going with the same opening pair as against New Zealand. And he also praised the openers despite them not succeeding.
“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 said that she realised that this letter could land her into trouble, but it was important for her to speak put as the turn of events was taking a toll on her.
“May I say that I am aware that by writing this email I am making myself even more vulnerable. I have always adhered to protocol and haven’t said a word in the press regarding anything that happened in the West Indies believing that the BCCI is there and in the end ‘my truth ‘ will have an ear there and my matter will be handled justly. But the brazen support of a COA member is a clear sign of bias and also that a stance has already been taken against me,” she said.
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