What transpired between Ramesh Powar and Mithali Raj in 2018?

Ramesh Powar

Former India off-spinner Ramesh Powar is all set to take up his duties as the head coach of the senior India Women’s team again. Powar will take over the reins from WV Raman, who guided the team to the final of the T20 World Cup in Australia last year.

Notably, Raman had taken over at the job in December 2018 after a controversial five-month stint of Powar that included an ugly fallout with veteran cricketer Mithali Raj during the T20 World Cup in the West Indies. Powar had assumed the role in July 2018, while his contract was extended until the end of the 2018 T20 World Cup.

The fallout

While things went fine initially, Raj made some startling revelations in a letter to the BCCI officials in November 2018, where she accused Powar of leaving her ‘depressed and let down’. Notably, she was left out of the playing XI in India’s semi-final clash against England and she accused Powar of being ‘unfair and discriminatory’ behaviour and mentioned that he threatened to destroy her career.

After the serious allegations, Powar responded by stating that the player had threatened to pull out of the World Cup and announce her retirement in the middle of the tournament if she was not allowed to open the batting for the team. Powar also accused Raj of blackmailing and pressurising coaches and went onto say that for her, she came first and then team India.

Meanwhile, senior players Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana urged the BCCI to continue with Powar as the team’s coach. Although owing to the growing controversies, the Board decided to not go ahead with Powar as WV Raman was appointed as the new coach in December 2018.

Powar makes a comeback

The questions on Raman, the new coach, were raised when India resumed cricket after the fateful T20 World Cup final at Melbourne in March 2020, where the team lost to Australia and finished as runners-up. However, a 4-1 and 2-1 loss in the ODI and T20I series at home against South Africa in March 2021 brought the role of the team’s coach back in the highlight.

In April 2021, the BCCI had called for fresh applications for the role of the head coach, where 35 applicants applied for the role, including Raman. However, the committee went ahead with Powar. In his international career, played two Tests and 31 ODIs for India from 2004 to 2007, taking a total of 40 international wickets. His first assignment in this term will be starting with the Indian women’s team tour of England, where they are scheduled to play one Test, three ODIs and three T20Is.