Most difficult phase of my career: Mithali Raj on fallout with Powar
Mithali Raj (AFP Image)

India cricketer Mithali Raj, who was at the centre of controversy due to her fallout with former coach Ramesh Powar, termed the episode the most difficult phase of career. For those unaware, despite being fit and scoring two half-centuries in the previous two matches, was dropped from the semi-final of the Women’s World T20 match against England.

Following India’s ouster from the tournament, Mithali, in a letter to the BCCI, explained how Powar did everything in his power to put her down mentally, by “questioning her attitude.” The batter stated that she was humiliated by Powar and that a few people in power were out to destroy her, while narrating a series of instances where she felt slighted by the coach.

As the dust finally begins to settle on the row, Mithali explained how the tumultuous chapter had affected her.

“I would like to sum it all up by saying that it was not a very good experience. Definitely, it was the most difficult phase of my career off the field,” Mithali told Times of India. “I don’t need to justify after all these years what I have done and what I am as a player. I can’t change people’s perceptions. It is not in my control. But what is in my control is that as long as I am playing, as long as I take the field as a player or as captain, there will not be any less percentage of commitment.”

During the turmoil, there were reports of rift within the team but both Mithali and Harmanpreet dispelled them as nothing but rumours. Captain Harmanpreet and Mithali stated that neither had a problem with the other, although for the former India captain, it was hurtful to see the captain skipper siding with the coach when she was dropped for the semi-final clash. With the turbulent episode now behind her, Mithali is confident of the team once again coming together as a unit.

“I am not sure how things will be off the field, but as professional cricketers who have been playing for so many years, each one of us understands what it takes to get the team together on the field and perform. Also, these things are secondary when you have a job on hand to represent the country at the highest level. I am sure everyone knows that they have to put their heads down and perform,” Mithali said.

Powar has been replaced by WV Raman. A former India cricketer, Raman has his task cut out, but he’s hoping to instil a positive change in the team through a fresh perspective. Regarding his appointment, Mithali had only good things to say. “I am not here to judge him. I am here to get the team together and get them to perform as a unit. He has a lot of experience and if you look at his credentials, he has coached at every level and comes with a lot of expertise. It will only do good for the team,” she said.

I am not a believer in that (seniors and juniors). Right from my debut, I always believed that if someone is picked to play for the country then that player is capable and is in the team purely on ability and not whether they are senior or junior.