Former India cricketer Ramesh Powar, who re-applied for the job of Indian women's team head coach on Wednesday, says he hasn't closed any communication channels with veteran Mithali Raj.
In an interview with CricketNext, Powar added that he is on speaking terms with all the players of Indian team despite the non-renewal of his contract.
“I haven’t closed any communication channels with Mithali. For that matter, I am on speaking terms with all members of the team, including Ekta (Bisht), Mansi (Joshi) or even the youngest member of the side Jemimah (Rodrigues). There is absolutely no bad blood for Mithali from my side," said Powar.
BCCI decided against renewing interim coach Powar's contract after the World T20 as a result of the controversy which embroiled Powar and Mithali. The controversy stemmed from Mithali's exclusion for the semi-finals against England in World T20, which India lost. After India's exit from the ICC event, Mithali wrote a letter to BCCI claiming that Powar wanted to "destroy and humiliate" her.
In reply, Powar wrote to BCCI claiming that Mithali had threatened to retire midway during World T20 if she wasn't allowed to open. Both the letters were leaked to media.
Meanwhile, the whole episode has also led to a bitter war between CoA members Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji. While Rai has made BCCI appoint an ad-hoc committee, comprising India's first World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev, former opener Anshuman Gaekwad and ex-Indian women cricketer Shantha Rangaswamy, to interview and pick the next head coach, Edulji wants Powar to continue, at least till the upcoming tour of New Zealand in January as he has the backing of T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana.
However, Powar seems unflustered by the ongoing tussle and said he took the decision to reapply as he didn't want to let down Harmanpreet and Mandhana.
“I can’t keep worrying about CoA politics. I am aware that one member is backing me while the other is not. I can only make an effort to serve the Indian team and it was my duty to apply after Smriti (Mandhana) and Harmanpreet (Singh) backed me openly as well as in the meeting with Mr Rai,” Powar said.
The interviews for the post of head coach will be conducted on 20 December at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai. According to reports, the list of applicants includes Manoj Prabhakar, Dav Whatmore and Herschelle Gibbs.