My patriotism doubted, darkest day of my life: Cricketer Mithali Raj responds to Ramesh Powar’s ‘threat’ revelation

Ramesh Powar in his 10-pages report to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and General Manager of Cricket Operations Saba Karim had accused the batswoman of “blackmailing” and “pressurising coaches”.

The Indian women cricket veteran player, Mithali Raj responded to the teams’ coach, Ramesh Powar’s report to BCCI. Power has accused the senior player of being selfish, throwing tantrums and creating chaos.

Raj, calling this day the ‘darkest day of her life’, took to Twitter to express her anguish. The veteran cricketer wrote that she was deeply saddened and hurt by the aspersions cast on her. She furthered that her 20 years of commitment towards the game and her patriotism for the country had been questioned.

Ramesh Powar in his 10-pages report to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and General Manager of Cricket Operations Saba Karim had accused the batswoman of “blackmailing” and “pressurising coaches”.

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Raj’s reactions came after Powar in his report wrote that “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 role and batted for own milestone.”

He accused Mithali of thrown tantrums regarding batting order and threatened to leave instead of being happy with the positive beginning of the World Cup. “I was saddened and baffled by her attitude. It gave me an impression that for Mithali Raj she comes first and then team India,” Powar added.

Mithali had earlier written a scathing letter to the BCCI alleging that Powar had humiliated her during the tournament in the Caribbean.

Recipient of the prestigious Arjuna Award in 2003 and Padma Shri award in 2015, Mithali Raj is the first captain to lead India to ICC ODI World Cup final twice, first in 2005 and then in 2017. Amassing a spectacular 6190 runs, she is presently the highest run-scorer in women’s ODIs.

The tussle actually began when Mithali was dropped from the playing XI for India’s semi-final against England in Antigua on November 23. Her dismissal drew a lot of criticism as the leading run-scorer in women’s cricket had been consistent throughout the group stages of the tournament wherein India remained unbeaten.

Mithali missed the final group game against Australia with a knee injury. Though her medical reports suggested she was deemed fit ahead of the crucial semi-final tie, captain Harmanpreet Kaur and the team management decided to omit her and go in with an unchanged XI.

India was eventually out of the tournament after it lost to England by eight wickets.

Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar has come out in support of senior Indian woman cricketer Mithali Raj in the controversy surrounding her dropping from the World T20 semifinal team, saying a player of her experience should not have been left out of the crucial match.

The team management cited cricketing logic behind the move to drop Mithali but cricket legend, Gavaskar did not agree with that.

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