Interviews for Indian women’s cricket coach job on Friday

The focus will be on finding a long-term candidate, according to people in the know of the process.

Ramesh Powar seems to be the front runner for the job.   -  Vivek Bendre

Nearly a month after Tushar Arothe resigned as the chief coach of India’s women’s cricket team, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will conduct interviews on Friday to find a new person for the position. The focus will be on finding a long-term candidate, according to people in the know of the process.

The persisting buzz is former Indian spinner Ramesh Powar is a front runner, but former Indian wicketkeeper Ajay Ratra and former Indian women’s team captain Mamatha Maben are very much in the mix.

What's more, three more names are also being talked up — former Indian spinner Sunil Joshi, former Indian women's team assistant coach Suman Sharma, and former New Zealand batswoman Maria Lankeshwar (née Fahey). Joshi is at present the spin consultant with Bangladesh.

Powar served as the interim coach of the women’s team and interacted with the players at the camp, which concluded last week.

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People aware of the interview process told Sportstar the Board received 20 applications for the post. The interview panel will have former India women’s captain and a member of the Committee of Administrators (CoA), Diana Edulji, BCCI’s acting secretary, Amitabh Chaudhary, and GM (cricket operations), Syed Saba Karim.

Karim recently said the Board was “yet to decide” on whether there would be a provision for interviews via video-conferencing, but Edulji on Thursday said, “Of course, there will be a provision for conducting interviews over video conference.”

The decision was apparently taken after some of the candidates expressed inability to make it to the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai at such a short notice. For instance, Ratra, a coaching staff of India’s U-19 team, is presently at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru with the side.

Announcement ‘will take some time’

With the team scheduled to feature in the ICC Women’s Championship (ODI) matches in Sri Lanka later this month, there is a likelihood of the Board announcing the coach right after the interview process. Edulji, however, advised patience, suggesting that announcing the new coach may take a day or two. “On Friday, the process will go on for the whole day. So, it will take some time before we finalise a name,” she said.

In November last year, Arothe was handed a two-year contract, but the coach-player dynamics nosedived after the team’s defeat against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup final. Reports emerged that some of the players were not happy with the way Arothe coached the side. Last month, the former Baroda cricketer put in his papers, citing personal reasons.

To fill up the vacancy, the Board invited applications specifying that the candidates should have represented India at the international level and should have an NCA Level-C certificate in coaching or a similar certification from a reputed organisation. There was a provision for players who haven’t played at the international level.

The BCCI stated that someone who has played 50 first-class games and has an NCA Level-B or a similar certificate would also be eligible for the job.