Rai, Edulji not on same page over hiring of women's team coach

Difference of opinion between CoA members Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji sees names of Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble dragged into an email exchange.

The difference of opinion between Diana Edulji and Vinod Rai led to the names of India captain Virat Kohli and former men's team coach Anil Kumble being dragged into an email exchange.    -  PTI

Even before an ad hoc panel comprising former Indian cricketers Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy selects the next coach of the Indian women's team, Committee of Administrators (CoA) members Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji have gone against each other over the panel's legitimacy. 

Their difference of opinion led to the names of India captain Virat Kohli and former men's team coach Anil Kumble being dragged into an email exchange. 

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Rai has written to Edulji that he wants to avoid a repeat of the scenario when Ravi Shastri replaced Kumble, and she has replied that the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) should have been given time (to select the women's team coach) and their roles should have been defined.

Incidentally, the CAC comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman has decided to stay out of this selection process.

"There were differences between Virat and Kumble. As a consequence of that, Kumble stepped back. More importantly, the team did not send e-mails. The team must realise that the names of the coaches are not decided on team votes," Rai wrote to Edulji and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials.

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While India women's ODI skipper, Mithali Raj, had slammed coach Ramesh Powar for dropping her from the squad for the World T20 semifinal against England, T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana had thrown their weight behind Powar.

"If it is a question of respecting opinions of senior players then why not respect the opinion of the senior most player—in fact, the ODI captain (Mithali) of the team?

"What I cannot understand is why some members of the team, or any other person advising them, is against having an internationally acclaimed coach. Don't we seek to upgrade the team from the plateau that they keep hitting in international games?" Rai wrote to Edulji.

She shot back, stating, "I see no wrong in women cricketers writing emails regarding the coach. They were truthful in expressing their views unlike Virat, who frequently sent SMSes to CEO on which you acted and there was a change in coach.

"There also I had objected and my dissent is recorded when the timelines were extended for someone to apply when he didn't apply. Mr Kumble, a legend in his own right, was subjected to loss of face and made to look like a villain. He was gracious enough to move on for which I respect him. There too, rules were broken and I had objected then."

Earlier, Edulji had written to Rai, stating that it is better to respect Harmanpreet and Mandhana's request and continue with Powar as the coach.

READ| Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana back Ramesh Powar

"There is no clarity on the previous procedure carried out. The Capt and vice Capt have requested their choice so why can't we respect their choice for this tour till we get clarity on the committee. We can go ahead and continue with the same coach. The views of the two senior players must not be ignored.

"Virat did not accede to Kumble continuing in spite of CAC saying so then why not these two players get what they feel is best for the team," Edulji wrote.

Edulji, a former India women's team captain, also iterated that there cannot be an ad hoc committee, and warned that since the selection process, conducted in August, was not 'closed', any of the six short-listed candidates could consider the legal option, in which case, it would be an embarrassment for the CoA.

The position of women's team head coach is vacant since November 30, when Powar's three-month contract ended. The Supreme Court-appointed CoA supervises the management and administration of the BCCI.