Timing of Mithali's outburst raises questions

Explanations may be sought for the leak of Mithali’s 1,987-word communication

By Lokendra Pratap Sahi in Calcutta
  • Published 28.11.18, 3:57 AM
  • Updated 28.11.18, 3:57 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Diana Edulji Telegraph picture

Brows have been raised over the timing of ODI captain Mithali Raj’s outburst against Diana Edulji, one of the two Supreme Court-appointed Administrators of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

On Monday, after all, Mithali and two others — T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur and manager Trupti Bhattacharya — separately met BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, who got a 2-1 verdict in his favour against allegations of sexual harassment, and GM Syed Saba Karim.

Saba Karim “looks after” women’s cricket. Till the vastly experienced Prof. Ratnakar Shetty was eased out of the BCCI on the pretext of being 65, he had that responsibility too.

Mithali has already achieved iconic status, while Harmanpreet is one of the most exciting and explosive cricketers of this T20 generation.

As for Diana, she’s a former India captain and much respected for her contribution to women’s cricket. Mithali’s accusations against her wouldn’t have been well received by the fraternity.

Getting back to the raising of brows, it’s because Mithali’s 1,987-word communication to Johri (and Saba Karim) followed her meeting with them and was leaked, on Tuesday, to an English news channel which kept quiet right through the inquiry against Johri.

No cricketer has been known to send a nearly 2,000-word communication to any official in the BCCI. So, Mithali appears to have set an off-the-field record.

Diana wasn’t available for comment, but it wouldn’t surprise if she eventually sought explanations for the leak. Indeed, it would be a surprise if she didn’t.

Since the communication was addressed to only two individuals, Johri and Saba Karim, it would logically be assumed one of them leaked it. Unless, of course, Mithali did so herself.

Mithali is more than upset at being dropped for the World T20 semi-final against England. That India lost has come in handy for her.

However, if Diana has such far-reaching powers, as alleged by Mithali, she’d be a Superwoman and wouldn’t repeatedly get overruled by chief Administrator Vinod Rai, a retired bureaucrat.

If anything, the Mithali episode has again presented our cricket in awfully poor light. If there’s linen to be washed, it’s best to do so behind closed doors.

This Reporter is also in possession of Mithali’s communication to Johri and Saba Karim and it begins with an ‘attack’ on Diana. The anger against coach Ramesh Powar, a former India cricketer, comes later.

Most see Powar as serving in an “interim capacity” after Tushar Arothe’s resignation.

“The timing of Mithali’s outburst against Diana, in particular, is very suspicious. It makes one believe that Johri may have had some role to play,” one of those long associated with the BCCI told The Telegraph.

But why point fingers at Johri?

That’s because Diana has been asking for Johri’s sacking ever since a tweet on October 12. The tweet got taken off after Johri served a “lawyer’s notice” on the lady on whose Twitter handle an acquaintance had, in detail, alleged grave sexual misconduct by him.

Even when the inquiry committee returned a 2-1 verdict, last week, Diana sought Johri’s removal. Yet again, however, Rai emerged his saviour.

Given that background, one hopes Mithali hasn’t unwittingly possibly become a ‘pawn’ in Johri’s hands as some in the BCCI have begun whispering.

Could be it’s all a coincidence. If yes, an unusually strange one at that.

Sadly, right now, there’s so much that’s really messy about the BCCI.

Postscript: The Supreme Court didn’t take up the BCCI-related matter on Tuesday. Perennial petitioner/respondent Aditya Verma claimed he has, nevertheless, moved the apex court on the Johri affair.

Mithali Raj
Mithali Raj Telegraph picture