Mithali's coach says Powar's accusations 'highly objectionable'

Standing by his pupil, Mithali Raj's personal coach R.S.R. Murthy said accusations were made to divert the issue from the semifinal loss in the T20 World Cup.

Mithali Raj's coach R.S.R. Murthy has rubbished Powar's claims on the veteran player.   -  V.V. Subrahmanyam

“No coach or manager or any official for that matter has ever questioned Mithali Raj’s integrity and commitment when it comes to playing for the team's cause in the last 20 years,” said the star cricketer’s personal coach R.S.R. Murthy. 

“Now, Ramesh Powar says that Mithali is selfish. This is highly objectionable,” he said.

Murthy said the pride of playing for the country took precedence over everything else for Mithali. “How can anyone question her credentials when after 22 years of international cricket, she continues to be the leading performer,” he asked.

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The coach also felt that conscious efforts were being made to divert the actual issue — dropping Mithali for the crucial semifinal in the recent T20 World Cup in West Indies — and raking up issues which had no relevance or making allegations against her which were baseless.

READ: Harmanpreet, Smriti offer overwhelming support to Powar in letters

“Why is no one making an issue about losing the semifinal but focusing only on Mithali,” he questioned.

“The whole issue is about ill-treating and humiliating a player of the stature of Mithali, not about her position in the batting order. Remember, her average is 73.60 in the matches India won,” he said.

“Let me also point out from my experience of being with Mithali over the years as her coach that she has no role to play in the ouster of former coach Tushar Arothe,” Murthy said.

“It is common knowledge about Powar’s stature itself. It is apparent that he couldn’t handle the team and was responsible in creating differences among the players,” he said.

“I am sure if things continue this way, the image of not just this Indian team but also of women’s cricket itself would suffer. This is not what everyone was hoping for after India made it to the final at Lord’s in the 50-overs World Cup. All those efforts have gone down the drain,” he said.

Referring to the e-mail by Mithali to the BCCI officials, Murthy felt that it was leaked just to defame the star cricketer.

“Frankly, I feel sorry for the whole controversy and hope BCCI will act in time to ensure there is no further erosion of the image of women’s cricket,” he concluded.