The experienced Mithali Raj has seen a lot of improvisations in women’s cricket in India since the inception. She has by far been the face of women’s cricket. She carved out a reputation for herself as a successful cricketer as she steered India to victory on many occasions.
But people were shocked when Mithali was excluded out of the playing XI in the World T20 semi-finals. Yes, the cricketer with tonnes of experience was dropped. Everyone was confused! Fitness was never the problem for Mithali. It was indeed heartbreaking to see her in the dugout in what was believed to be her last T20 World Cup. Is this how a legend is treated?
Women’s Cricket Team Coach Ramesh Powar and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur planned to go with the winning combination dropping Mithali’s form in the tourney. However, the decision came to light when India lost the match against England on a tricky Guyana pitch.
Mithali Raj decided to write a letter to Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI), after former Indian captain and a member of Committee of Administrators (CoA) backed the decision to drop her from the playing XI. Going by her words, the 35-year-old was deeply hurt after Edulji ignored to interfere in the words of controversy.
The Indian ODI skipper, Mithali Raj alleged that she was dropped during the tournament and accused Ramesh Powar. Here is the letter:-
“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,”
She conveyed her worries to the manager and had also confronted Powar in a meeting but it only added more fuel to the fire.
“Finding the situation completely out of control and realising that it is important to resolve issues as it affects the team I reached out to the team manager and conveyed my grievances. After the meeting, his behaviour turned worse. He would not even acknowledge me.
To him, I didn’t exist in the team. If I was around he would immediately move away from the scene, if I looked to wish him he would deliberately start looking in other direction. He continued to behave badly as I have already informed you yesterday. It appeared to me that for him the meeting had hurt his ego.”
Mithali also alleged that she was not given an entry in the team huddle before the semi-final match. She claimed that she was ignored during the team practice. Apparently, she was even told by her coach Ramesh Powar to not come to the ground as media will be present.
She also wrote, “I couldn’t control my tears having given it my all for 20 years. It seemed my efforts had no value.”.
“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”