Powar not given extension as coach after Mithali controversy

In the aftermath of the omission of the senior India women's player for the World T20 semifinal, the BCCI has advertised for a fresh head coach position

Nagraj Gollapudi
Annesha Ghosh

Annesha Ghosh

In the aftermath of the controversial omission of senior Indian player Mithali Raj in the Women's World T20 semi-final, the BCCI is looking for a new head coach, in effect choosing to not extend the tenure of interim coach Ramesh Powar, which began in September and ran till the World T20.
As per the terms of the contract, Powar, upon favourable evaluation by the BCCI, was eligible for a 12-month extension as head coach. The BCCI, however, has now opted to restart the entire process. The new coach - India's third in 2018 - is likely to take charge in time for the ODI series in New Zealand in January.
This comes at the end of a week when Indian women's cricket became a soap opera. On Wednesday, Powar submitted his report on India's performance at the World T20, in which he hit out strongly against Raj, who he said had threatened to pull out of the tournament if not allowed to open the batting.
Raj, India's most experienced player, had been excluded from their last two matches, including the semi-final. That decision was taken by the team management, which comprises Powar, captain Harmanpreet Kaur and vice-captain Smriti Mandhana.
However, Raj sent a letter to the BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and Saba Karim, head of women's cricket, singling Powar out and saying he was trying to destroy her career. She also took offence to Committee of Administrators member Diana Edulji's comments saying the CoA would not intervene in matters of team selection.
It remains to be seen whether Powar, a former India and Mumbai player, will apply to be the full-time coach. Even when he was appointed on a temporary basis, he had been trying to get the job of spin bowling coach at the National Cricket Academy. However, he was told by the BCCI to supervise a women's training camp at the NCA and kept doing so until he signed a formal contract in September to be the head coach. The contract expired on Thursday.
It is not clear whether the decision to appoint a fresh set of coaches came from the senior group of players, including Raj, Kaur and Mandhana. In any case, both the CoA and the BCCI's professional management agree that a long-term plan and vision would serve women's cricket better.
It is learnt that the CoA wants the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, to interview prospective candidates. In case the CAC members are unavailable, a set of reputable senior cricketers will be picked to carry out the interviews.
The last date for application is December 14, with the interviews scheduled for December 20.

Nagraj Gollapudi is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo