Mithali Raj, India’s One-Day International captain who was dropped from the playing XI in the semifinals of the Women’s T20 World Cup on Friday, has written to the Board of Control for Cricket in India stating that “a few people in power are out to destroy” her, a day after meeting Rahul Johri, the BCCI’s chief executive officer, and Syed Saba Karim, its general manager for cricket operations.
“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,” Raj wrote in a letter.
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Raj accused Diana Edulji – the former India captain and member of the committee of administrators nominated by the Supreme Court to look after the administration of the BCCI in order to implement the Lodha committee reforms – of bias.
“To put things in perspective, I have always reposed faith in Diana Edulji and have always respected her and her position as a member of the CoA, Never did I think she will use her position against me, more after hearing what all I had to go through in the Caribbean as I had spoken to her about it,” Mithali wrote in the letter addressed to Johri and Karim.
“Her brazen support in the press with regard to the decision of my benching in the semifinal of the T20 World Cup has left me deeply distressed, more because she knows the real facts having spoken to me.”
Edulji refuted the accusation, saying she liked the on-field attitude of Harmanpreet Kaur, who captained India at the T20 World Cup in the West Indies, and added that she never “interfered” in any of the selection matters.
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Raj also accused coach Ramesh Powar, a former India spinner, of humiliating her.
“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 wrote.
“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. She convened a meeting at my request between the coach and me in her presence and I spoke to him politely yet firmly about all that was going on. In front of the manager at numerous instances he agreed to his fault 'haan meri galti hai, mujhe aisa nahin karna chahiye tha’,” Raj wrote, adding: “After the meeting his behaviour turned worse. He would not even acknowledge me. To him I didn’t exist in the team. He continued to behave badly.”
“I would also like to point out that I have nothing against the T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur except for the fact that her call to support the decision of the coach to leave me out of the eleven was baffling and hurtful,” she wrote.
CoA chief Vinod Rai, Johri and Karim were unavailable for comment while Powar refused to speak on the issue.