The saga of the Indian women’s coach appointment shows no signs of ending with Diana Edulji, one of the two members of the Committee of Administrators, urging that WV Raman be appointed only on an interim basis.
Raman, a former Test batsman who has held several coaching roles in India in recent times, was appointed as coach on December 20. He was one of three names, along with Gary Kirsten and Venkatesh Prasad, who had been recommended by a three-member ad-hoc committee set up to interview nine shortlisted candidates.
Edulji, a former India Women captain, however, has continued to object to the appointment and the process with which it was done, standing in opposition to Vinod Rai, the chairman and only other member of the CoA. The five-member committee had been set up to implement changes in the BCCI, but its two remaining members have been at loggerheads.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) December 1, 2018
Edulji has reportedly written to Rai, asking for Raman to be retained on an interim basis, as per his contract as batting coach with the National Cricket Academy, which ran till June. She then wants the Cricket Advisory Committee of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, which had been set up to choose India men’s coach, to choose a full-time coach for the women’s team.
According to the email as quoted in ESPNcricinfo, Edulji said: “It is prudent to let WV Raman go as the interim coach on his old contract which is valid till June 2019 and let CAC do a fresh process to select a Coach.”
The CAC had declined to be part of the process to choose the women’s coach saying they had not been given enough time, after which Rai had cleared the ad-hoc committee comprising Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy. Edulji, who had called this process “illegal” continued to insist on a role for CAC.
Stressing on what she saw as double-standards, she again brought up how Ravi Shastri had been appointed as the men’s coach. “The CEO & yourself in the past had changed/extended timelines for an individual who eventually became the Head Coach of Men’s team, then how is it that you have suddenly found it difficult to give time to CAC … or extend the contract of the coach Mr Ramesh Powar.
“Please recall the time when the Men’s team went without a coach to West Indies and late Doc [MV] Sridhar was asked to be with the team, as timelines were extended and CAC was allowed to complete its process of selecting a Coach,” she wrote.
The hunt for a new coach was necessitated after Ramesh Powar, who was in charge on a temporary basis during the World T20, fell out with Mithali Raj, the ODI captain, even as Harmanpreet Kaur, the T20I captain, backed him. The BCCI chose not to extend his contract, against the advice of Edulji.
The latest email was reportedly triggered when the CFO sought approval for Raman’s contract terms, which India Today put at INR 1.75 crore a year. “There should be no new contract and if the CEO, CFO and GM cricket operations in charge of women’s cricket do issue a new contract then they will have to be liable for financial damages to BCCI,” Edulji added.
Mithali Raj v Ramesh Powar: Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana throw their weight behind the coach.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) December 4, 2018
Meanwhile, Kapil Dev decried the controversy around the issue and said it was “unfair” to “derail the development” that women’s cricket had seen in recent years, so much that “even someone like me, who didn’t keep a track of what was happening a decade back, wanted to contribute”.
Without taking Edulji’s name, he said, “I am very disturbed about what all is happening. I don’t want to take names but ego of one particular individual shouldn’t be an impediment towards developing the women’s game in the country. Someone might have his or her personal likes or dislikes but that is not above the interest of the national women’s team.”