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Ramesh Powar's tenure as head coach of the India women's team has ended, a little over two months out from the next T20 World Cup in South Africa. India will be without a head coach for the upcoming five-match T20I series at home against Australia.
For now, the team's support staff group will be headed by former India allrounder Hrishikesh Kanitkar, who has formally been handed the position of batting coach. Kanitkar, who was most-recently in charge of a second-string Indian men's team in similar capacity during their limited-overs tour of New Zealand, has linked up with the women's squad in Mumbai ahead of the Australia series beginning on December 9.
Powar, meanwhile, is set to return to his role as spin-bowling coach at the National Cricket Academy (NCA). In a media release, the BCCI termed Powar's switch to men's cricket as part of a "restructuring module". It's a position he had previously held at the NCA between 2019 and 2020, before taking over as head coach of the Mumbai men's team, who he guided to the Vijay Hazare Trophy title in March 2021.
For Kanitkar, the role is a step up from his present role as a batting consultant at the NCA. Earlier this year, he was head coach of India's victorious batch of Under-19s, who became world champions in the Caribbean. His NCA stint aside, Kanitkar has also coached Tamil Nadu, apart from being player-mentor at Rajasthan towards the end of his career. Like Powar, Kanitkar has been an active part of NCA's redevelopment under former India captain and current India men's head coach Rahul Dravid. He was with the Indian women's team as the batting consultant during the tour of Sri Lanka and then the victorious Asia Cup campaign.
Powar has had two stints with the women's team, the most recent of which was a mixed one. Having taken over in May 2021, he oversaw the team's lead-up to the 2022 World Cup (50-overs), where they crashed out in the group stage with three wins in seven. More recently, though, the team finished silver medalists behind Australia in the Commonwealth Games, before recording their first-ever white-ball series win in England, when they blanked the hosts 3-0 in the ODIs in September. His final series with the team was a victorious one, India storming to their seventh Asia Cup title in October.
"I have had an enriching experience in my stint as head coach of the senior women's team," Powar was quoted as saying in a BCCI release. "Over the years I have worked closely with some of the stalwarts of the game and upcoming talents of the country.
"With my new role at the NCA, I will be looking [to use] my experience [from] over the years to help build talent for the future. I look forward to working in tandem with [NCA head coach] VVS Laxman for the further development of the game and bench strength."
For Kanitkar, the five-match series against Australia will be followed by a tri-series in South Africa, also involving West Indies, in the lead-up to the World Cup.
"I see tremendous prospects in this team, and we have a good mix of youth and experience," Kanitkar said, looking ahead to his new role. "I believe this team is ready for the challenge ahead. We have a few marquee events coming up and it is going to be exciting for the team and myself as batting coach."