Atul Bedade suspended as Baroda women’s team coach over sexual harassment allegations

Former India batsman, Atul Bedade, head coach of the Baroda women’s team, has been suspended until 'further enquiry' on the grounds of sexual harassment and public shaming.

A former India cricketer, Bedade featured in 13 ODIs and was earlier associated with the senior men’s team of Baroda.   -  VIJAY SONEJI

Former India batsman, Atul Bedade, head coach of the Baroda women’s team, has been suspended by the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) until 'further enquiry' on the grounds of sexual harassment and public shaming.

The association took the decision after a couple of senior players and their family members complained against Bedade for his alleged misbehaviour during the Women’s Senior One-day tournament in Una, Himachal Pradesh, last month.

“One of the senior team players had a nervous breakdown during the tournament and she had to be flown back home. Last week, we heard another parent complaining against (the head coach) for public shaming,” BCA secretary Ajit Lele told Sportstar.

Based on the complaint, the BCA started an internal inquiry, with a four-member panel -- the senior HR manager of the BCA (Priyanka Verma), CEO (Shishir Hattangadi) and two secretaries (Lele and Parag Patel) -- and all the stakeholders, including Bedade, deposed before the committee. It was decided that pending final inquiry, Bedade will be suspended with immediate effect.

“We will form a neutral committee, which will look into the matter and based on its findings, a final decision will be taken,” Lele said.

In a letter, issued on Saturday -- a copy of which is with this publication -- the BCA made it clear that Bedade was suspended under the policy of sexual harassment and public shaming, which includes: “personal comments on physicality to personal menstruation; comments that discourage the morals of the team members; angry outbursts unbecoming of a women’s team coach and using unparliamentary language that is not accepted of a person-in-charge; behaviour oblivious of gender sensitivity.”

When contacted, Bedade said: "I am not in a position to comment on the matter. I have just received the suspension letter this evening and it's suprising." Meanwhile, it has been learned that the senior player, who had a nervous breakdown, is undergoing treatment in Hyderabad.

A former India cricketer, Bedade featured in 13 ODIs and was earlier associated with the senior men’s team of Baroda. He took charge of the women’s side last year after the association appointed Sanath Kumar as the head coach of the men’s team.

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