Cricket

Mithali Raj threatened to announce retirement if she didn't get to open innings, says coach Ramesh Powar

Ramesh Powar in 10-page tour report to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and GM Saba Karim revealed that Mithali Raj had threatened to pull out of Women's World T20 and announce retirement if she wasn't allowed to open.

Mithali Raj threatened to announce retirement if she didn't get to open innings, says coach Ramesh Powar

In another major twist to the ongoing controversy that has encircled senior India women's team member Mithali Raj and head coach Ramesh Powar with the latter revealing that the player had threatened to pull out of Women's World T20 and call time on her career if she wasn't allowed to open.

According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, Powar told Raj to stop "blackmailing and pressurising" the coaches and putting her interests ahead of the team's.

Raj was named Player of the Match in consecutive group games against Pakistan and Ireland, before she didn't make it to the playing XI due to a knee niggle for the final group game against Australia and then was left out for the semi-final encounter against England. India eventually lost the game and the decision to drop India's leading run scorer came under severe criticism.

Twitter @BCCIWomen

File image of Mithali Raj (L) along side head coach Ramesh Powar. Twitter @BCCIWomen

According to Firstpost's LIVE commentary of the India vs Pakistan fixture of Women's WT20, Raj said, " I enjoy opening the batting. I also like batting in the middle. At the end of the day, I enjoy batting. Chasing puts a little pressure, to keep up the run-rate, but that's is what I enjoy. There's no doubt that we will get to play the semis. But going forward we will need to be at our best as we will play the best teams," during the post-match presentation.

Raj did not bat in India's opening fixture against New Zealand despite Harmapreet Kaur-led side lost five wickets in their innings. Raj opened in the following game against Pakistan.

Powar met BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and the board's head of cricket operations Saba Karim on Wednesday before e-mailing his final report to the pair.

"I hope Mithali stops blackmailing, pressurising coaches and putting her interest first than the team," Powar said in a 10-page tour report is almost entirely focussed on Mithali.

"Before Pakistan match, video analyst Pushkar Sawant came to my room and said that fielding coach Biju George has conveyed to him that Mithali is upset with batting order and packed her bags with announcement of retirement in the morning," Powar wrote in his report.

"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," he stated.

Her irresponsible behaviour took my time away as I was supposed to speak with few players regarding preparations of all important semi-final match, which could not happen," he alleged.

"It's not always about individual milestones, it's always about team strategies and executions (team first)."

Earlier on Tuesday Mithali had too written to Johri and Karim accusing the Powar of "humiliating" her, treating her differently and threatening to "destroy" her career.

On Wednesday a report in PTI carried Powar's account which stated that the coach supposed to have admitted the strained relationship with the player.

"Ramesh admitted that his professional relationship with Mithali was strained as he always found her aloof and difficult to handle," a BCCI source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

Later Powar tweeted rubbishing the report and denied the contents of the same.

The 40-year-old Powar's interim tenure comes to an end on Friday.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: November 29, 2018 00:09:04 IST

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