Breaking her silence on being dropped from the playing XI for the World T20 semi-final against England, Mithali Raj has lashed out at Committee of Administrators' (CoA) member Diana Edulji and coach Ramesh Powar in a scathing email to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and Cricket Operations General Manager Saba Karim. While expressing her dismay at the decision, Mithali alleges in the email that "few people in power are out to destroy me".
Mithali, who had scored a couple of half-centuries in the tournament, has directed her ire in particular against Edulji, whom she accused of “using her position against me.” Edulji, a former Indian women’s captain, had said on Monday that “too much” was being read into the decision to leave Mithali out for the game.
“The management made the decision of not changing a winning combination and that backfired,” Edulji was quoted as saying by PTI. “If India had won the game, I am sure nobody would have questioned their decision. We can't be questioning the team eleven.”
However, Mithali who along with skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, met Johri and Karim on Tuesday wasn’t convinced by that argument from Edulji.
"For the first time in a 20-year long career, I felt deflated, depressed and let down,” her email reads. “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.
"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. I wanted to win the world cup for my country and it hurts me because we lost a golden opportunity.
"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.
"Her brazen support in the press with regard to the decision of my benching in the semi-final of the T20 World Cup has left me deeply distressed, more because she knows the real facts having spoken to me."
Mithali also directed her anger at Powar, who was appointed on a short-term contract in the role and his term ended with the tournament in the West Indies. The 35-year old narrated a series of instances where she felt slighted by the coach in her email.
"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,” she wrote. “It was embarrassing and very evident to everyone that I was being humiliated. Yet I never lost my cool.
"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."
According to Mithali, things went from bad to worse after that.
"After the meeting his behaviour turned worse. He would not even acknowledge me. To him I didn't exist in the team.
"If I was around he would immediately move away from the scene, if I looked to wish him he would deliberately start looking in other direction. He continued to behave badly as I have already informed you yesterday. It appeared to me that for him the meeting had hurt his ego."
Mithali said she was even asked not to show up at the ground by Powar during the game against Australia.
"In the evening after the team meeting before the Australia game, Ramesh rings up in my room and instructs me not to come to the ground as the media will be there," she alleged.
"I was taken aback as to what media has to do with me being with the team. I was told I was not to be with my own team in one of our biggest games. I was shell shocked."
Mithali said Powar also deliberately ignored her at nets to make it clear she won't play the semi-finals after which she broke down.
"It was worrying and insulting because the coach was out to destroy and humiliate me," she wrote. "I couldn't control my tears having given it my all for 20 years. It seemed my efforts had no value."
Powar is expected to meet Johri and Karim on Wednesday.