Indian women’s Test and ODI skipper Mithali Raj said that she has not felt the need to avoid press conferences. Mithali was reacting to the development on Monday where world number two tennis player Naomi Osaka withdrew from the ongoing French Open after refusing to speak to the media at the tournament, which she had attributed to caring for her mental health.
Several sports stars have since then voiced their support for Osaka and highlighted the importance of prioritizing mental health in the sports industry and other areas of work. However, some like Mithali, have insisted that the media also played a significant role in making them global celebrities.
Speaking at the pre-departure virtual press conference ahead of the England tour, the Indian skipper said, “It is tough to be in quarantine. I haven’t thought about boycotting the media.”
“Personally, I have not felt the need to forgo a press conference. It is important for players and the media to try and help to grow the sport. Women’s cricket, where it stands, needs media support. We need to interact and promote the sport. And I feel it is important to interact,” she said.
Earlier, in a tweet announcing the move, Japan’s Osaka said that she had “suffered long bouts of depression” since winning her first Grand Slam title in 2018. The 23-year-old said last week she would not do press conferences at Roland Garros to protect her mental health.
After the organizers of the French Open issued a warning stating that she could face expulsion from the tournament if she continued to avoid them, it led to the player announcing her withdrawal on Monday, saying she was going to “take some time away from the court now”.
Meanwhile, Mithali also spoke on reuniting with coach Ramesh Powar moving on from their much-publicised discord from the past.
“Can we move on from that? It’s been three years. We are in 2021, we should be looking forward to it. If you repetitively keep asking the same question….we should take you from the past,” Raj concluded.
The full-fledged series comprising India’s first Test in seven years will be Powar’s first assignment as head coach in his new stint. The former India spinner returned to the role after being sacked following India’s semifinal defeat in the 2018 World T20.
Mithali was controversially dropped from that game and relations between the two went south in a spat that played out in the media through leaked emails.