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Navnita Gautam joins RCB, rare woman support staffer in IPL

RCB players gather around Parthiv Patel after he ran out Shardul Thakur BCCI

Royal Challengers Bangalore have brought a woman staffer on board with the appointment of Navnita Gautam as a massage therapist for IPL 2020. It is rare for IPL teams to appoint female staff although the now defunct Deccan Chargers did have Ashleigh Joyce and Patricia Jenkins working as massage therapists in 2008 and 2009.

As per a press release from the franchise on Thursday, Navnita will be working with head physiotherapist Evan Speechly and strength & conditioning coach Basu Shanker "to identify, evaluate, provide guidance and implement massage therapy to suit the team and any relevant prevailing conditions".

She will also be responsible for performing specialised techniques pertaining to the preparation, motivation and physical ailments of individual players.

Talking about the appointment, the franchise chairman Sanjeev Churiwala said: "I am very pleased to be a part of this moment in history and another step in the right direction. The game has come a long way, in many ways, in terms of the women's cricket team and how many people are watching it, the interest was long due. Sport is a great enabler, but it is important to ensure that the principles of equity in participation also extends to its staffing bodies. Increasing participation and success by women in all sporting arenas have made this possible and we at RCB are very thrilled to have found great talent in Navnita."

In August, RCB, who are still looking for their maiden IPL title, had appointed former New Zealand head coach Mike Hesson as director of cricket and former Australia batsman Simon Katich as head coach in a complete overhaul of their support staff.