OF CONTROVERSIES….

OF CONTROVERSIES….

One of the two main things, apart from thwarting our self-belief in our Indian culture, faith and simple living style, that British had handed out to us, one is English Language and the other being CRICKET. It has become normative, to think, talk, read, learn, write in English language preferred over regional languages. Cricket and Controversies are nothing new and they run parallel to each other.

She was about 16 years, 205 days when she smashed 114 on her ODI debut, becoming the youngest player to score a hundred across formats in both men’s’ and women’s international cricket also the youngest double centurion in women’s test cricket achieving the feat aged 19 years and 254 days. She captained India, her accolades are, the only female cricketer to surpass the 6000 run mark in WODI’S, to reach 2000 runs in T20’S format, first player to score 7 consecutive 50s in WODI’S. She is none other than Mithali Raj.

International information

National side

·         India (1999-present)

Test debut (cap 55)

14 January 2002 v England

Last Test

16 November 2014 v South Africa

ODI debut (cap 56)

26 June 1999 v Ireland

Last ODI

16 September 2018 v Sri Lanka

ODI shirt no.

3

T20I debut (cap 9)

5 August 2006 v England

Last T20I

15 November 2018 v Ireland

T20I shirt no.

3

Wikipedia

 

CAREER STATISTICS

 

Competition

WTests

WODI

WT20I

Matches

10

197

85

Runs scored

663

6550

2,283

Batting average

51.00

51.17

37.02

100s/50s

1/4

7/51

0/15

Top score

214

125*

78

Balls bowled

72

171

6

Wickets

0

8

Bowling average

11.37

5 wickets in innings

10 wickets in match

n/a

n/a

Best bowling

3/4

Catches/stumpings

11/–

49/–

18/–

Source: ESPNcricinfo, 15 November 2018

 

These vital statistics speak for themselves. Mithali, almost has had a long 19 years of cricketing career, as a player, captain, but the most recent incident, meted out to her, which led to this controversy does not befit a player of her calibre and stature. A coach for a team here, Ramesh powar, the most difficult part of their job is selecting the playing 11, benching the other 4 players. It’s a collective decision by the coach, captain, selector not one person can be singled out for the decision made. What happens when a wrong decision is made? It demotivates the team while playing here or in abroad and the fans’ zeal gets diluted in the process. The factors that determine the playing 11 in any match be it all the formats of the game, per match, it totally depends on players’ form, fitness, the pitch and the opposition team. 

As a captain Mithali Raj led India to the World Cup Final on two occasions but unfortunately couldn’t lift the trophy. India recently lost to England in the Semi-final of the 2018 ICC Women’s World T20 format.  The biggest factor of the loss was attributed to the team selection on that day, which raised many eyebrows. The experienced Mithali, who had won player of the match awards in the tournament, was axed from the team in the semi-final. After which Mithali wrote a letter to BCCI giving them a detailed description of her dispute with head coach Ramesh Powar who seemed to have treated her insultingly, humiliatingly and biased too. Ramesh Powar for his part told that Mithali when suggested to go down the order for batting, threatened to retire from the game. He went on record to say that Mithali, was blackmailing and pressurising coaches, causing division in the team, minimum inputs from her in the team meetings, little understanding from her on team plan and adaptation. This matter has also accounted former Indian team captain Diana Edulji who is a COA member.

On December 3rd. this year when Mithali turned 36, adding more fuel to the fire, was the e mails sent by the current captain of the Indian Team Harmanpreet Kaur, with whom the fall out was initially thought of as the relationship has become strained by then. She has made the following suggestions, that, let Ramesh Powar continue as the coach with the impending match with New Zealand next month and the following World Cup next year. She went on to record that he had transformed them as a team and she felt that there is no reason to replace him. She also went on to praise coach Powar, that he changed the face of Indian women’s cricket team both technically and strategically and inculcated the sense of winning in them. She also had quoted that the issue between Mithali and coach Powar should be sorted out across the table by discussions. She was also seconded by Vice-Captain Smriti Mandhana. A new coach would take time to set with the team was also felt.

This matter has been escalated to the veterans in cricket field, though they are all feeling bad about Mithali not being allowed to play at the semi-finals last month, no one has taken any step forward   towards this issue, to solve it. It is also believed that BCCI has also gone hunting for a new coach, selected few and didn’t finalise the candidates. Ramesh Powar as a player for India, lacked in the fitness issue and his fielding left a lot to be desired about. But, when he became a coach probably the equation changed. I hope BCCI also sets standards for coaches, their fitness, their capability too. Instead of prolonging this controversy I hope they sort it out as soon as possible. Mithali Raj is an asset to the team, being in form or not is part and parcel of the game, they can be asked to play matches in the domestic season and come back after they regain their form. Mithali has more years of cricket left in her. WHERE THERE IS A WILL THERE IS A WAY.

 

VIAYASHREE RAMESH, CHENNAI BASED ADVOCATE