Former India cricketer WV Raman has won the race to be the next head coach of the Indian women’s cricket team.
The BCCI, in a statement released on the evening of Thursday, 20 December, confirmed the 53-year-old’s appointment to the role which had been vacated since Ramesh Powar’s contract expired on 30 November.
A three-member ad-hoc selection committee, comprising former captains Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy had recommended the names of Gary Kirsten, Raman and Venkatesh Prasad – in thar order – after meeting in Mumbai earlier in the day.
Kirsten’s existing contract as coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, however, tipped the scales in favour of the second-favourite candidate, with the BCCI, according to its release, against a potential Conflict of Interest scenario.
Raman has previously been head coach of the Bengal and Tamil Nadu state teams, while also serving holding posts with Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.
Kirsten’s IPL Gig Aids Raman?
The former South African batsman is a man well known to Indian cricket. ‘Guru Gary’ took the men’s team to the World Cup title in 2011, having earlier overseen India’s rise to the top of the Test rankings. Kirsten’s three-year stint as coach coincided with what was arguably Indian cricket’s most successful period.
But his recent IPL commitments swayed the decision against him. Kirsten, who was named Royal Challengers Bangalore’s coach for IPL 2019 after earlier serving as their batting coach for the 2018 season, was reportedly not keen to give up the position.
“Kirsten was the top choice for the BCCI ad-hoc selection committee but Raman got the job as the South African was not keen on giving up his plum job with IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore. He could not be convinced on choosing between IPL and national team.”BCCI official, as quoted by PTI
Raman, who played 11 Tests and 27 ODIs, is now one of the more qualified coaches in the country. Aside from his Ranji and IPL roles, the yesteryears batsman has also served a lengthy stint as batting coach at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, apart from a brief stint with the India under-19 team.
From his cricketing days, Raman is best remembered for being the first Indian to score a century in South Africa during the 1992/93 tour.
Selection Amid CoA’s Internal Rift
The appointment was made despite the Committee of Administrators (CoA) being divided on the issue, with Diana Edulji asking chairman Vinod Rai to put the selection process on hold. BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, too, questioned the process being followed as it had Rai's approval and not Edulji's.
Besides Kirsten, Raman and Prasad, the other shortlisted candidates out of the 28 applicants who were interviewed on Thursday were Manoj Prabhakar, Trent Johnston, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Brad Hogg and Kalpana Venkatachar.
Three were interviewed in person, five – including Kirsten – on Skype and one over phone. The 2011 World Cup-winning coach was the clear first choice.
“He was number one in the order of preference but was not very keen to leave the RCB role. Having said that, Raman is a good choice as the team needs a batting coach at the moment. Prasad was number three in the pecking order.”BCCI official, as quoted by PTI
The BCCI invited fresh applications for the job after Powar’s interim tenure ended in controversial circumstances following India’s semi-final exit at the ICC Women’s World T20. The former India spinner had a bitter falling out with ODI captain and veteran player Mithali Raj over selection issues.
Powar, however, re-applied after T20I skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and her deputy Smriti Mandhana came out in his defense.
The Supreme Court-appointed CoA had been divided over the coach selection process ever since fresh applications were invited.
While Edulji wanted Powar to continue at least till the New Zealand tour starting in January, Rai instructed the BCCI top brass to invite fresh applications.
(With inputs from PTI)