WV Raman has been appointed the India women head coach after a day-long series of interviews conducted by a three-member ad-hoc committee set up by the BCCI for the purpose. Raman was one of three names, along with Gary Kirsten and Venkatesh Prasad, recommended by the committee to the board after interviewing nine applicants on Thursday in Mumbai.
Raman, the former Tamil Nadu opening batsman, played 11 Tests and 27 ODIs in an international career stretching from 1988 to 1997. He has since transitioned into an extensive coaching career, which, ESPNcricinfo understands, strengthened his case. He has served as the head coach of state teams Bengal and Tamil Nadu, been assistant coach of Kings XI Punjab (2013) and the batting coach of Kolkata Knight Riders when they won their second IPL title in 2014. Later, he was named the batting coach at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru in 2015.
Thanks you all folks, for the wishes and your kind words. Means a lot.— wv raman (@wvraman) December 20, 2018
What also worked in his favour vis a vis Prasad was the panel preferring a former international batsman to a bowler in the role of head coach. Raman, however, is understood to have suggested that the board consider appointing a bowling coach for the team's benefit.
Kirsten was the most high-profile candidate but his role as coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore will mean a potential conflict of scheduling with the women's team. The BCCI release confirming Raman's appointment also mentioned that this could have been a possible conflict-of-interest situation as per the new BCCI constitution.
It is also learnt that the panel suggested to the CoA the possibility of having Kalpana Venkatachar, the former India Test batsman and current coach of the Meghalaya women's team, and the only female candidate to have been interviewed, hired as a deputy.
Anshuman Gaekwad, one of the three members on the ad-hoc committee alongside Kapil Dev and Shantha Rangswamy, said the panel had done its "job in the best manner" it could and that the decision would be taken by the board.
"[Three names were recommended] for any last-minute changes, who's available or not," he said. "The interviews were conducted only for the head coach and not any deputy or assistant role or any other support staff."
Powar had reapplied for the role after not being handed an extension amid controversial circumstances; he was among the three candidates, including Raman and Manoj Prabhakar, to be interviewed in person at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai but was not among the final three candidates recommended by the ad-hoc committee.
Five other applicants from the shortlist, including Kirsten, were interviewed via Skype.
While Kirsten has coached the India and South Africa men's teams before working with Delhi Daredevils and now with RCB, Prasad was the India bowling coach with the victorious India men's team during the inaugural World T20 in 2007. Prasad then became the coach of the domestic team Uttar Pradesh before taking over as the chairman of India's junior selection committee, a position he relinquished earlier this year to become the bowling coach of Kings XI Punjab.
Raman will now be the fourth coach in 20 months, a timespan that also involved the controversial ousters of two head coaches - former India women captain Purnima Rau in April 2017 and, her replacement, the former Baroda spinner Tushar Arothe in July this year, both of whom had to vacate the position on the demand of seniors players.
Before it came to a fractious end, Powar's tenure saw India clinch limited-overs series victories in Sri Lanka in September, and beat Australia A in an unofficial T20I series in Mumbai where India fielded their regular side. Before the semi-final loss to England - his last match in charge - the team enjoyed an unbeaten run at the World T20, notable for victories over New Zealand and Australia.
Powar, the first of the three applicants to have arrived at the headquarters for the interview, had made it to the initial shortlist from a longlist of 28 candidates after the position opened up in the wake of the non-renewal of his contract.
Both Powar and Prabhakar are understood to have impressed the panel. Despite his formidable credentials, including coaching India to their first World T20 semi-final in eight years, Powar failed to make the cut largely owing to the controversies that preceded his reapplication.
Much of the focus behind selecting the head coach, it is understood, had been on gauging the potential of the candidates at managing the personnel in the team and the sussing out the needs of the support staff.
Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo