Ramesh Powar with Mithali Raj. @ BCCI
Ramesh Powar with Mithali Raj. @ BCCI

The controversy that has engulfed Indian women’s cricket owing to Mithali Raj’s omission from the ICC Women’s World T20 semi-final against England should not have taken place, feels former India cricketer Madan Lal.

In a stinging letter to the BCCI which was leaked, Mithali accused Diana Edulji, a member of the Committee of Administrators, of bias and claimed that people are out to destroy her career.

READ: Mithali Raj’s full letter to BCCI – I couldn’t control my tears having given it my all for 20 years

In his defence, coach Ramesh Powar accused Mithali of being selfish and said that she threatened of retiring if she was not given her opening slot. Powar’s term as interim coach ended on November 30 following which the BCCI advertised for positions for the Indian’s women coach. The last date to apply for the position is December 14 (by 5pm).

ALSO READ: Ramesh Powar concedes to having “strained relationship” with Mithali Raj

“If you keep removing coaches, it would be better to keep a dummy, who listens and acts according to the players. Coach is part of the team and takes decisions which should be abided by the team. The coach (Powar) also wanted to win only and the captain (Harmanpreet Kaur) was also part of it. Why was Powar alone targeted?” Madan Lal was quoted as saying by ANI.

“Selectors are also part of the decision. It was unnecessary to remove Powar. Like this, the game won’t move ahead.”

ALSO READ: Mithali Raj threatened to quit, created chaos: Ramesh Powar to BCCI

Madan Lal does not seem to understand the flak Powar and the think tank are facing for Mithali’s omission.

“If tomorrow Ravi Shastri makes someone sit out, will you remove him as well? Things do not work like this. They (coaches) too are under pressure. Performance is kept in mind, you do not make someone sit out randomly. I believe in performance, so the board should analyse,” he said.

“No one is bigger than the game. Was there any guarantee that the Indian team would have reached final if Mithali Raj was in the playing XI. This is a team game, not an individual game. I always believe that the captain and the coach have the supreme authority. They had taken the decision after looking at the condition.”

ALSO READ: You cannot drop someone like Mithali Raj: Sunil Gavaskar

“Once we start making the player bigger than the game, then these kinds of controversies arise. It is the call of the coach and captain. Sometimes, I do believe that an experienced player (Mithali Raj) should have played but they (coach and captain) must have taken the decision with prior thinking and analyses. So, sometimes the decision is good, sometimes the decision back fires,” he said.

ALSO READ: Mithali Raj row: ‘Will BCCI have the guts to treat MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli in the same way?’

Quizzed about Powar’s reply, Madan Lal, a member of the 1983 World Cup-winning side, said: “Whatever the report they give, the board has to look into. I don’t think there should be any controversy the way they are coming out in the media. Like this, you cannot build the team. You have to trust the coach and the captain. If they are not doing well, then selectors can come in and take the decision.”

“It’s not always about individual milestones, it’s always about team strategies and executions,” he added.

ALSO READ: For the first time in my 20-year-long career, I felt depressed and let down: Mithali Raj

He endorsed Powar’s idea that players will be chosen in the T20 format based on their strike-rate.

“This is not a 50-over match, it is T20. If you waste six to seven overs, then your team is already under pressure. I will go by the captain and the coach. Whatever decision they had taken must be in terms of the team, and there was the selector also. Sometimes in sports, you have to take a hard decision, which is in terms of the team only. Powar is not Mithali’s enemy, the player should think how can she adjust in the T20 game and how can she perform better,” he said.

“I also do agree that she is an experienced player and should have played but looking at the condition, I will go with the coach, the captain and the selectors. They simply took a decision. Now that they have lost, a controversy has built up. If there are any differences between Powar and Mithali, the board has to sort it out. Sitting here I cannot comment about Mithali or Powar’s attitude.

ALSO READ: Why is Diana Edulji contradicting her statement, asks former India women’s coach Tushar Arothe

“Team players have to look and make sure how to survive and grow. The decision (taken during World T20) can be wrong or could have been right. Had they won (the semi-final against England), people would have said the decision was good. Things don’t work like this. The controversy should not have arisen.”