‘Darkest Day of My Life’: Mithali Responds to Powar’s Allegations
"It's the darkest day of my life," wrote senior Indian woman cricketer Mithali Raj, responding to coach Ramesh Powar's allegations that she threatened retirement over a batting position, threw tantrums and created chaos in the side during the recently concluded World T20.
The exclusion of Mithali from the Indian team that played England in the World T20 semi-final had resulted in immediate backlash, especially after India went on to lose the match. The war of words started when the team returned home and Mithali alleged that Powar was out to destroy her, and it intensified on Wednesday when the coach, in his tour report, questioned her conduct during the tournament in the West Indies.
Mithali reacted to Powar's report by posting a brief statement on her official Twitter page on Thursday, 29 November.
“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,” her tweet read.
Mithali’s Allegations & Powar’s Counter
The acrimony between the senior player and the coach has shaken Indian women's cricket and it started when Mithali accused and Committee of Administrators' member Diana Edulji of bias.
She claimed that while Diana used her position against Mithali, Powar humiliated her with his indifference in the West Indies.
Powar, after declining comment initially, submitted a 10-page tour report to the BCCI in which he detailed his version of the events, that led to the breakdown.
In the nearly five-page assessment of Mithali, Powar stated that the senior player threatened to leave the tournament midway after being dropped from the opening slot despite being duly consulted before the move. He also accused her of chasing personal milestones while ignoring the team's cause.
I was saddened by her attitude and it gave me an impression that Mithali Raj comes first and then India. She threw a lot of tantrums and created a lot of chaos. I hope Mithali stops blackmailing, pressurising coaches and putting her interest first than the team.Ramesh Powar, Indian Women’s Cricket Coach
The 40-year-old Powar's interim tenure comes to an end on 30 November.
Even though he will be free to apply for the post when fresh applications are invited, there is little chance that he will be retained owing to the ongoing controversy.