The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) move of inviting applications for the job of the Indian women’s coach hasn’t gone down too well with Indian T20 skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and her deputy Smriti Mandhana who have insisted that Ramesh Powar stay at the helm of affairs, with the World T20 and the upcoming tour of New Zealand in mind.
Also, they have made it clear that the decision to drop Mithali Raj for the semi-final against England in the recently concluded World T20 was a decision made by the management and not entirely made by Powar.
Kaur’s and Mandhana’s letters to the BCCI stated that Powar has played a pivotal role in shaping the attitude of the Indian players and it was a unanimous decision to drop Raj from the team for the semi-final against England.
The letter written by Kaur which is in possession of the Hindustan Times read, ” I am writing to bring it under your notice that how tremendously our team has gone under positive changes in the past few months and has set a benchmark in the world top teams. Our defeat in the semi-finals was very disheartening and it brings us all to feel more miserable to see how the controversies has stained our image and questioned the entire cricket fraternity.
“Sir Ramesh Powar not only improved us as players but did motivate us to set targets and challenge our own limits. He has changed the faced of Indian women’s cricket team both technically and strategically. He has inculcated in us the sense of winning.”
Explaining the move to drop Raj, she said, “The decision was entirely based on the cricketing logic and observations from the past. Keeping in mind the need of the hour, me, Smriti, selector Sudha Shah and the coach together in the presence of our manager felt that we should go ahead with the winning combination.”
Ending her letter, she wrote, “Cutting the conversation short, I, as the T20 captain and ODI vice-captain is appealing before you to allow Powar to further continue as our team coach. There are hardly 15 months for the next T20 World Cup and a month to go for the New Zealand tour. The way he has transformed us as a team, I feel no reason to replace him.”
Mandhana, her deputy too wrote along the same lines and in her letter, she wrote, ““All the meetings that were held with respect to the playing XI for all the matches came to a unanimous decision which was taken by captain, vice-captain, coach and selector in the presence of our team manager (Trupti Bhattacharya). Since the introduction of Powar, he along with the support staff has boosted our confidence as a team which has helped us win 14 consecutive T20 matches. He changed the intent of the players and gave everyone confidence.”
The left-handed opener also laid emphasis on the fact that the whole saga between Raj and Powar be solved as soon as possible so that Indian cricket could grow.
“It is important for Indian cricket’s growth that everybody is on the same page and I believe that any difference can be amicably resolved via discussion,” she ended.
Raj had written to the BCCI wherein she alleged mistreatment on the part of the people in power, accusing them of trying to destroy her career. She had also said that Powar humiliated her during the World T20.
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