Ramesh Powar may pay price for Mithali Raj face-off

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NEW DELHI: The Indian women’s team coach Ramesh Powar is unlikely to get an extension after his recent faceoff with former India skipper Mithali Raj, despite a majority of the players backing his methods.
Mithali was dropped from the team in the semifinal against England in the recently concluded World T20 Championship in the West Indies.
Powar’s contract ends on Friday and Indian cricket board (BCCI) sources said the decision not to continue with him was taken in the wake of the continuing blame game between Mithali and Powar, which is affecting the morale of the team.
BCCI officials are upset that Powar reportedly acted on a “phone call from a very influential member of BCCI” and dropped Mithali despite the star batter getting back-to-back fifties in the knock-out matches and earning two Player of the Match awards.
The board officials are also upset that the head coach didn’t show the spine to stand up against the pressure created from outside to drop Mithali.
It is learnt that during Powar’s meeting with BCCI on his return from West Indies, the coach had no convincing answer to why and how Mithali became a middle-order batsman from being an opener after one match, and why she was dropped for the crucisal semifinal match.
The board expected Powar to have a dialogue with Mithali before taking any decision, which didn’t happen. “Powar should have spoken to Mithali instead of dropping her straightaway after a phone call from Mumbai on the day of the match. This isn’t cricket,” an insider told TOI on Thursday.
“Powar’s conflict with Mithali has ensured that he can’t continue as the coach of India,” the source added.
It has been revealed that CoA member Diana Edulji is still backing Powar and the coach has also earned considerable praise from India’s T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur for bringing in a new culture of competitiveness in Indian women’s cricket.
Powar was made women’s team’s head coach earlier this year and his contract runs till November 30.
With India having a history of the coach losing out after a conflict with the players, Powar not getting an extension would not be unusual.
Mithali reacted in a tweet on Thursday by describing Powar’s comments about her as the “darkest day” of her life. Powar reacted by tweeting: “Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.”

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