Mithali Raj and Ramesh Powar
Ramesh Powar, Indian women's cricket coach, on Wednesday admitted that his professional relationship with senior player Mithali Raj was strained as he always found her aloof and difficult to handle. On Tuesday, Mithali broke her silence on her omission from the World T20 semifinal against England and slammed Committee of Administrators’ member Diana Edulji and Powar. Mithali said while Powar humiliated her during the ICC Women's World T20, Edulji used her position against her.
On Wednesday, Powar met BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and GM (Cricket Operations) Saba Karim. He met the two Board officials at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai.
The senior-most batswoman of the Indian team, in a scathing e-mail to Johri and Karim, alleged that Powar humiliated her during the World T20 in the West Indies and she was left in tears after the axing from the team.
"Ramesh admitted that his professional relationship with Mithali was strained as he always found her aloof and difficult to handle," a BCCI source told news agency PTI on conditions of anonymity.
The official added that the Indian coach insisted that Mithali's axing from the semifinal, which India lost to England by eight wickets, was based on strategy and not acrimony.
"He maintained that it was due to poor strike rate that she was dropped against England and also because the team management wanted to maintain a winning combination," the official said.
Interestingly, Powar had no answer to defend his decision when he was asked why Mithali's strike rate didn't come in the way of her selection for the games against Ireland and Pakistan. Mithali scored half centuries in both the games and was adjudged Player of the Match.
The source said Powar denied receiving calls from anybody but claimed to be aware of one "powerful individual in the BCCI" being in touch with team manager (Trupti Bhattacharya) and tour selector (Sudha Shah).
The 40-year-old Powar's interim tenure comes to an end on Friday.
(With PTI inputs)