Nagraj Gollapudi is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
SA v ENG (1)
IND v NZ (1)
WU19 WC (1)
ZIM v WI (1)
Super Smash (1)
SA Tri-Series (1)
BPL 2023 (2)
Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur, the two cricketers at the centre of a raging selection controversy, met in Delhi on Sunday, less than a week after their public feud began. The meeting - in the presence of Vinod Rai, the head of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) - does not, however, appear to have ended the issue: a day after the meeting Harmanpreet sent an email to the CoA and the BCCI top brass, reiterating the rationale behind not playing Raj, India's most experienced player, in the semi-finals of the WT20 and backing Ramesh Powar as coach.
Diana Edulji, the other half of the CoA and a former India captain herself, was not present at that meeting but it is understood that Rai briefed her on it via email.
ESPNcricinfo understands both players wanted to sit across the table and clarify their individual positions on a feud that many suspected had been simmering before it blew into the open a day after India's exit from the WT20. That's when Annisha Gupta, who handled Raj's business affairs, put out several Twitter posts cricitising Harmanpreet. One of the tweets - they were all later deleted - called Harmanpreet a "manipulative, lying, cheat".
During their meeting, Raj is understood to have told Harmanpreet that Gupta was not her manager. On her part, Harmanpreet told Raj that the decision to exclude her from the World T20 semis was not a personal choice but a collective call.
In the email she sent to the CoA and BCCI top brass on Monday, Harmanpreet had said that Powar was not "responsible" for leaving out Raj from the World T20 semi-final. She said the decision was taken collectively between herself, Powar, Smriti Mandhana (T20 vice-captain), Sudha Shah (national selector) and Trupti Bhattacharya (team manager).
The issue of Powar was also touched upon during the meeting. It is understood Rai, in his email summary to Edulji, said that although there was a thaw between the players, Harmanpreet supported Powar while Raj felt he had wronged her. Rai is believed to have told the players that the CoA would not take sides and instead would go ahead with the recruitment of a new head coach. It is not yet clear whether Powar, who is eligible, will apply.
Bitterly upset at her exclusion from the semis and the way she was treated during the WT20, Raj had last week fired salvos against Powar and Edjuli. In a report addressed to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and Saba Karim (BCCI general manager cricket operations and women's cricket head), which immediately got leaked, Raj said both Powar and Edulji were "destroying" her career. Soon afterwards Powar revealed in his own report to Johri and Karim (which, too, was quickly leaked) that Raj had threatened to walk out of the World T20 if she was not allowed to open.
In her report, Raj had said she had "nothing against" Harmanpreet "except for the fact that her call to support the decision of the coach to leave me out of the eleven was baffling and hurtful," Raj had said. She also said that being "senior players" any issues should be sorted by "two of us by sitting across the table."
With additional inputs from Annesha Ghosh