Expected to be dropped and sacked from captaincy, says Mithali Raj
What's the story?
Indian women's team captain Mithali Raj has revealed that she was expecting to be dropped from the T20I squad and sacked from ODI captaincy in the aftermath of the controversy which erupted during the Women's World T20 last year.
Mithali Raj, in a discussion with The Hindu, said that she is going through a 'challenging phase' in her career right now after a long training session at St John's Coaching Foundation at Hyderabad.
Mithali and former Indian women's team coach Ramesh Powar were involved in a spat that became rather public when she was dropped from the playing XI for the semi-finals of the Women's World T20 against England.
Her omission from the team didn't go down well with too many people as Mithali is a revered figure who has contributed so much to the growth of women's cricket in the country.
The heart of the matter
“Honestly, I thought I would be dropped from T20s and sacked from captaincy. I never had any expectations that I would play. I have faced difficult times in the past. But, this time it was in the public domain. Hurt a lot of people in many ways at different levels. It was the most challenging phase for me," she said.
“I was deeply disappointed at the negative portrayal of women’s cricket more than about me being treated like that. It was not about my batting position, which was never a concern, but about being part of the winning team. It was more about the behavior."
Mithali also went on to say that she was saddened by the way the whole episode played out. However, she also added that despite some players from the team such as Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur openly backing Ramesh Powar's move to leave her out of the team, she holds no grudges against anybody.
She knows for a fact that at the age of 36, she would need to be at her best, fitness-wise, to play all forms of the game and she has put the events of the Women's World T20 behind her in order to focus on the upcoming ODI series against New Zealand.
The events that transpired in the wake of India's exit from the competition have tainted the image of one of India's finest players.
With so many players coming out in support of the team's decision to drop Mithali from the side in the recently-concluded Women's World T20, it is pleasing to see that she is willing to put those events behind her and focus on the upcoming ODI series.
It is a testament to her personality that she's willing to help and guide all the players in the side to perform well.
However, she is aware that she's not getting any younger and any dip in form could see her being left out of the side.