Powar play: Ramesh Powar returns as India women's team coach

Former India cricketer Ramesh Powar was appointed head coach of India women's team
Powar play: Ramesh Powar returns as India women's team coach
Ramesh Powar along with Indian women's cricket team during T20 World Cup 2018 in England Twitter

Mumbai: Former India cricketer Ramesh Powar was appointed head coach of India women's team, the Indian cricket board declared on Thursday. Powar, in his second spell as national women's coach, replaces former India cricketer, WV Raman.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in a statement said, “The three-member Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Sulakshana Naik, Madan Lal and Rudra Pratap Singh [junior] interviewed the applicants and unanimously agreed on Powar's candidature.”

The former off-spinner, will be in charge of the senior women's team. Powar played two Test matches and 31 games of 50-over format for India. After his playing career, Powar took up coaching has attended BCCI- National Cricket Academy (NCA) level 2 coaching course and is an ECB level 2 certified coach. The former Mumbai player previously served as coach of Indian women's team from July-November 2018.

India qualified for the semi-final of the ICC T20 Women's World Cup in 2018 and also clinched victories in 14 consecutive T20 matches. The 42-year-old recently coached the Mumbai senior men's team that managed to win the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He has also worked at the NCA as a bowling coach.

For many who don’t know, Powar is a self-made player-turned coach. He completed his domestic career with seven centuries and 470 wickets (first class cricket) spending over 17 seasons. Coming from humble background, he started to play the game with bats made out of coconut branch and cloth balls. This indicates the arduous journey he had. He lost his mother at his young age and father a few years before he donned the national jersey. Without the timely involvement of Ramakant Achrekar and Vasu Paranjape, Powar would not have ended up playing two Tests for India.

In response, the outgoing coach WV Raman wished him luck. "All the best @imrameshpowar with the @BCCIWomen in this spell. Look forward to seeing the girls soar under your guidance," Raman tweeted. Earlier on Thursday, the BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) appointed Powar to replace Raman.

POWAR-MITHALI CONTROVERSY

Ramesh Powar was in charge of the women’s team from July to November 2018 and India had marched to semi-final of the T20 World Cup under his coaching. The team also bagged 14 T20 matches in a row. But the team selection in the semi-final game against England eventually became his problem.

The Blues under leadership of Harmanpreet Kaur had dropped former captain Mithali Raj for the game and the latter in turn hit back at the coach, accusing him of bias and raging her anger over the ‘humiliation’ she faced. Later, in a tweet, Mithali had described it as “the darkest day” of her life. “Today, my patriotism doubted, my skill set questioned & all the mud slinging – it’s the darkest day of my life. May god give strength,” she wrote.

Powar’s response was a hurtful criticism of the senior cricketer. “I hope Mithali Raj stops blackmailing, pressurising coaches and also stops putting her interest first than team’s. I hope she will look at the bigger picture & work towards betterment of Indian women’s cricket,” he had written in a 10-page letter to the BCCI.

Fast forward to May 2021, Powar is once again appointed as a coach. “Looking forward to take India women's cricket ahead. Thanks a lot CAC & bcci for this opportunity,” Powar soon tweeted after being appointed as new coach.

Meanwhile, Indian women’s team will travel to England on June 2 for a single Test, three T20Is and as many ODIs.

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