Bengaluru, November 28: The omission of Mithali Raj from the semifinal against England during the ICC Women's World T20 2018 has breached the walls of dressing room. It has now become one of the most hotly debated topic in sporting circles and since that fateful November 22 at Antigua the magnitude of the episode too has reached explosive levels.
Now, there are leaked e-mails, accusations and counter-accusations, giving the Mithali Raj episode the garb of a thriller. Here's MyKhel walk through the controversy in a timeline.
It was the day when everything began. India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur announced at the toss that he team management will stick to the 11 played against Australia with no place for Mithali. India were 89/2 before getting bundled out for 112 and eventually lost the match to England by 8 wickets. At the post match ceremony Harmanpreet said: "Some decisions (exclusion of Mithali) are taken for the team, some will come off, some will not. No regrets."
Social media, cricket pundits and ex-players discussed the topic heavily but the tweet of Annisha Gupta, manager of Mithali, took the matter to a whole new level. In a series of tweets which have been deleted since Annisha accused Harmanpreet of being "manipulative." "Unfortunately, the Indian women's cricket team believes in politics not sport. After witnessing what Mithali Raj's experience could do in India vs Ireland, it's shocking that they went with what pleases Harmanpreet Kaur - a manipulative, lying, immature, undeserving captain," Gupta said in a series of tweets.
The rumble has reached the castle. The CoA chief Vinod Rai indicated that he and Diana Edulji will meet all parties concerned Harmanpreet, Mithali, coach Ramesh Powar, manager Trupti Bhattacharya and selector on tour Sudha Shah to discuss the issue. Rai also urged them not to go public with their comments and to keep restrain. "The comments made by people who appear to be associated with the Indian women's team have been viewed with concern. Such statements made in the media are totally uncalled for," Rai was quoted as saying by PTI.
CoA member Diana Edulji contradicted Rai and said they will not intervene in the matter since it is pertaining to the team selection, hence out of CoA's ambit. "It was a selection matter," she said. "There is no need for the CoA to intervene. If they want to have a word with us, then that can be looked at. We only step in when it is required, like it was when (former India women's team coach) Tushar Arothe stepped down."
In a letter, that was selectively leaked to the media, to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and BCCI General Manager (Cricket Operations) Saba Karim, Mithali accused Diana Edulji of bias and coach Powar of humiliating her.
Former women's team coach Tushar Arothe, who stepped down after Asia Cup, slammed Harmanpreet and Edulji for treating Mithali like a sodden tomato. Arothe stood down after many players, including Harmanpreet, expressed dissatisfaction over the methods of Arothe as a coach.
Mithali slammed India women's cricket team coach Ramesh Powar for commenting adversely against her skills and commitment while submitting a 10-page report to the BCCI. In a tweet on her official account, Mithali wrote: "I'm deeply saddened & hurt by the aspersions cast on me. My commitment to the game & 20yrs of playing for my country...the hard work, sweat, in vain. Today, my patriotism doubted, my skill set questioned & all the mud slinging- it's the darkest day of my life. May god give strength."