Ramesh Powar returns as the head coach of India women's cricket team

Ramesh Powar returned as the head coach of the India women's team after the BCCI decided to hand over the role to him, ahead of the team's tour of England.

Ramesh Powar is back as the head coach of India women's team.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

Ramesh Powar returned as the head coach of the India women's team after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), on Thursday, decided to hand over the role to the former India spinner ahead of the team's tour of England.

Powar, who was the head coach of the team in 2018, was replaced after the T20 World Cup due to his fallout with Mithali Raj. But after shortlisting eight candidates for the job, the Madan Lal-led Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) decided to reintroduce Powar for the role. The former India international pipped W.V. Raman, Hrishikesh Kanitkar and Ajay Ratra.

"Looking forward to take India women's cricket ahead. Thanks a lot CAC and the BCCI for this opportunity," Powar said.

But what worked for Powar? "The committee interviewed all the applicants and thought that Powar can handle the team well. He spoke vividly about his vision and what he intends to do with the team," Madan Lal told Sportstar.

"He has a lot of coaching experience. He recently coached the Mumbai team (which won the Vijay Hazare Trophy). He is involved with the game and his know how about handling the team is much better," the CAC chief said.

Taking over as the head coach after Tushar Arothe's exit in 2018, Powar guided the team to the T20 World Cup semifinals, but soon after India bowed out of the competition, reports of a fallout between him and Mithali emerged. As things went out of control, the BCCI heard versions from various members of the team and Powar was removed.

"We asked him about that episode and he said that it was not from his side and that we needed to find out what went wrong," Lal said.

READ: Raman, Powar, Kanitkar, Ratra interviewed for India women’s head coach job

The CAC head, however, mentioned that even though there was not much difference between Powar and Raman, it was the vision of the former that worked in his favour. "Both of them have played international cricket. There was not much difference but we thought what he wanted to do was better. Whatever he said, made a lot of sense. It was a difficult decision, but we had to pick one candidate," he said.

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"During interviews, a lot of candidates speak a lot about their plans, but one has to see how things go when he actually starts the job. Everyone needs to show result," he added.

In April, the BCCI had invited applications for the head coach’s role after Raman’s contract expired last October. The former India cricketer was asked to continue till the recently-concluded home series against South Africa.

In the advertisement, the BCCI categorically stated that the head coach will have to work with the women’s national team, Women’s India A and Women’s India U-19 teams.

Squad to be picked on Friday

India will travel to England on June 2 for an one-off Test and three T20Is and ODIs. And the selection committee - headed by Neetu David - is expected to pick the squad and choose the support staff on Friday.

Powar is expected to join the selectors for a virtual meeting before finalising the squad. Keeping the COVID-19 protocols in mind, the selectors are likely to pick a jumbo squad. After India's defeat in the ODI series against South Africa in Lucknow, questions were raised on the strategy by the Indian team - led by Mithali Raj - and there is a buzz that there could be some major changes to the squad and also a reshuffle in leadership.

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