Indian women’s cricket coach Ramesh Powar on Wednesday denied a report that he had admitted to having a “strained” relationship with Mithali Raj in a meeting with BCCI officials. This is the first public comment from Powar in the wake of her controversial exclusion from the World T20 semi-finals and subsequent leaked email.

News agency Press Trust of India had carried a report earlier in the day saying that Powar had admitted that his professional relationship with Raj was strained as he always found her aloof and difficult to handle. They had cited an anonymous BCCI official as the source of the news.

However, soon after the story was published through the agency, Powar denied the contents of the story on his Twitter account, saying he was shocked to read it.

Powar was to meet BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and GM (Cricket Operations) Saba Karim on Wednesday, as per an earlier report.

On Monday, Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet had met the same officials separately. On Tuesday, Raj sent an email to them outlining the treatment meted to her during the World T20 in West Indies and accusing Committee of Administrators member Diana Edulji of bias. This was leaked to the media the same day.

The 40-year-old Powar’s interim tenure comes to at the end of this month and even though he will be free to apply for the post when fresh applications are invited, there is little chance that he will be retained after this controversy.