With Powar on way out, Indian women's cricket team hopes for controversy-free future

NEW DELHI: The feud between senior India woman cricketer Mithali Raj and Ramesh Powar is heading towards an end without any intervention from the administrators with the coach's three-month interim tenure ending on Friday.

With the conclusion of Powar's term, fresh applications will be invited by the BCCI for the job and in all likelihood, the former India spinner will not be considered even if he applies.

"His contract is coming to an end today and there is little chance that he will be brought back," a top BCCI official said.

The Indian women's team has had its fair share of controversies and the latest one was triggered after Mithali was dropped from the playing XI for the World T20 semifinal which the side lost to England by eight wickets.

Mithali alleged that Powar was "out to destroy her" while the coach countered her by questioning the "conduct" of the team's seniormost player, saying that she threatened to retire on being denied the opening slot and threw tantrums.

Powar was appointed in August after Tushar Arothe quit following differences with the senior players over training methods.

After Powar's departure, it remains to be seen how T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur and ODI captain Mithali bury their differences.

It will be a massive mental challenge for the 35-year-old to put the past behind.

India's next assignment is the tour of New Zealand in January and under a new coach, the team would hope to steer clear of more controversy.

"It will be interesting to see how Harman and Mithali get along after whatever happened in the West Indies. It is imperative that they get along well for the team's sake. Otherwise, there will only be more issues in the dressing room," said another BCCI official.

Harman has not yet spoken on the Powar-Mithali face-off but had defended the team management's decision of dropping Mithali for the all-important semifinal despite her senior teammate scoring fifties in the previous two innings.

Mithali has already expressed her desire to sort out the differences with the T20 captain.

"I am of the opinion that Harman and I are senior players and our issues, if any, should be sorted out by the two of us by sitting across the table.

"As India's 50-over captain, I value Harman as one of our best players and will always want to ensure that the two of us perform our best for India," Mithali had written in a detailed explanation to BCCI when the controversy first broke out.

 

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PTI