Ramesh’s statement comes amidst the controversy surrounding the decision to bench Mithali during the T20 World Cup semifinals.

The darkest day of my life Mithali Raj responds to coach Powars accusationsFile Image
news Controversy Thursday, November 29, 2018 - 12:42

The drama surrounding the letter penned by cricketer Mithali Raj to the Board of Cricket for Control in India (BCCI), alleging bias at the hands of coach Ramesh Powar and Committee of Administrators (CoA) member Diana Edulji, took a new turn with the coach making fresh accusations. In an official report submitted to the BCCI, Ramesh has stated his version of the events, following which Mithali took to Twitter and stated that she was hurt by his accusations.

“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,” she said on the platform.
 

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

In his statement to the BCCI, a part of a review of the team’s performance in the World T20 semifinals match, Ramesh claims that Mithali threatened to pull herself out of the Women’s World T20 series and take to retirement if she were not allowed to open the match. He further added that the Mithali would blackmail and pressurize the coaches and would not cooperate with them. He further blamed Mithali and claimed that she manipulated the coaching staff to suit herself. “I hope Mithali Raj stops blackmailing, pressurising coaches & also stops putting her interest first than team's," he wrote in his letter, "I hope she will look at the bigger picture & work towards betterment of the Indian women's cricket."

What happened at the World T20 Semifinals?

On November 23, India and England faced each other at the World Cup T20 Semifinals match held in Antigua, West Indies. Authorities decided to bench Mithali Raj, and this was met with approval from the team captain Harmanpreet Kaur.

India lost to England by eight wickets, which led many to outrage over the fact that Mithali was dropped from the match, despite having been in good form. Many claimed that the outcome would have been in India’s favour, had she been allowed to play. Sunil Gavaskar too came out in support of Mithali and stated that, “You have to pick your best player for the knockouts. You needed the experience and expertise of Mithali Raj."


Amidst this, captain Harmanpreet Kaur spoke to media following the game and stated that she stood by the decision in having dropped MIthali out and that the decision was taken for the betterment of the team. 
Mithali’s manager Annisha Gupta responded to this by taking to Twitter and slamming the captain. In a tweet that was later deleted by her she said, "Unfortunately @BCCIWomen believes in politics not sport. After witnessing what @M_Raj03 's experience could do in IndvIre it's shocking that they went with what pleases @ImHarmanpreet -a manipulative, lying, immature, undeserving captain.”

Annisha also spoke to media and stated that she was upset with the “unfair treatment meted out to India’s highest scorer in the shortest format with 2,283 T20I runs,” referring to Mithali.

The BCCI reportedly invited both Harmanpreet and Mithali to its office to sort out the issue.

Following this, Mithali wrote to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and GM (Cricket Operations) Saba Karim and alleged that coach Ramesh Powar and CoA member Diana Edulji were biased against her.

It is interesting to note that Ramesh Powar's statements come amidst the pending decision about the extension of his tenure as coach. The CoA remains divided, with some supporting the decision to extend his tenure while others disagree.

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