Decision to drop Mithali Raj was unanimous: Harmanpreet Kaur

Harmanpreet Kaur believes Ramesh Powar has made the T20I team a stronger outfit

Harmanpreet Kaur believes Ramesh Powar has made the T20I team a stronger outfit

Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur have joined hands in opposing their ODI captain Mithali Raj by writing to the Board of Control for Cricket in India that they want Ramesh Powar to continue as the coach of the Indian women's cricket team.

"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", she is quoted to have said.

Kaur backed her defense of the seemingly-outgoing coach by stating Powar's involvement was imperative with the next edition of the T20 World Cup only 15 months away.

"I as the T20 captain and one-day vice-captain, is appealing before you to allow Ramesh Powar to further continue as our team coach".

Powar, on his part, accused Mithali of threatening to retire midway into the World T20 after being denied the opening slot and creating chaos in the team.

Shortly after India's semifinal exit, Mithali wrote a scathing letter, addressed to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and general manager Saba Karim, mentioning that her exclusion from the semifinal match against England was "baffling and hurtful" and that her main issue was with the coach who was indifferent to her.

The captain and the vice-captain have also pressed on the fact that Powar was not the only person behind Mithali Raj's omission.

If one reads between the lines of Harmanpreet and Smriti's near-identical letters, the duo has not only sided with Powar, but also indirectly indicated that the veteran isn't welcome, at least in India's T20 change room.

Sir Ramesh Powar not only improved us as players but also did motivate us to set targets and challenge our own limits.

Powar's interim tenure ended on November 30 and the BCCI has already invited fresh applications for the job. He has changed the faced (sic) of Indian women's cricket team both technically and strategically. "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", the letter further added before urging the BCCI to allow Powar to continue as coach. "And I believe it should have come to your understanding that the intent was not personal but entirely based on the welfare of the team", Harmanpreet said on the decision to keep Mithali out of the playing XI.

Endorsing Harmanpreet's views, Mandhana said the decision to leave out Mithali was unanimous. "This will provide more sense and security to them and the entire team", Harmanpreet wrote towards the end of her email. He has inculcated in us the sense of winning.

The deadline for applying for the coach's job ends on December 14 and the BCCI is looking for a high-profile candidate to fill the vacancy. "Ramesh sir has changed the intent of the players and given everyone confidence to express their selves on the field to their fullest". "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".

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