Chennai: Even though incumbent WV Raman remains in a strong position to continue as the head coach of India’s women team, he faces competition from former coaches Ramesh Powar and Tushar Arothe.
Also on the fray are former India internationals Hemalatha Kala, Nooshin Al Khadeer, Mamatha Maben, Jaya Sharma and renowned domestic coach Surerndra Bhave.
The candidates will be interviewed by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) in the next week or two and it is understood that there is a push from certain quarters to appoint a woman as the head coach.
Purnima Rau was the last woman to be in charge of the Indian team and since her axing in 2017, the team has had three men coaches. While Arothe resigned before his tenure citing differences within the team, Powar’s contract was not extended by the BCCI after ODI captain Mithali Raj hit out against the Mumbaikar for dropping her for the T20 WC semis in 2018.Since then Raman has been in charge of the team and guided India to the final of the T20 World Cup in 2020, where they lost to Australia.
With the ODI World Cup in New Zealand is less than a year away, Raman, who continues to have the backing of the BCCI, has also the backing of a majority of the players. While all things pointed out that it is only a formality before Raman is handed an extension, there seems to be a push from the women’s selection panel to include a woman in the coaching group.
Neetu David, who is the head of the selection panel, is understood to be pushing the BCCI to have a rethink on extending Raman’s contract. But Raman enjoys the backing of the dressing room, where his attention to details in the overall planning and making strategies based on the opposition being spoken highly by the players.
In fact, the likes of Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, and Shefali Verma have benefited from his presence in terms of technical aspects. Hemalatha, Khadeer are understood to have the backing of ODI captain Mithali Raj and few other players. However given the responsibility of the women’s coach – has to oversee India A and India Under-19 team – whether the two, with not much coaching experience, get the nod remains to be seen.
There are indications that the BCCI might ask the CAC to forward those who don’t make the cut to the selectors, who have the rights to name the support staff.