Former opener WV Raman has been appointed as the coach of the Indian women’s team after the interview process conducted by the ad-hoc selection committee — comprising former India captain Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy. It is learnt that the first choice of the panel was former India head coach Gary Kirsten. However, the conflict-of-interest provision prevented the former South African opener’s appointment. “I’m not in a position to accept, as I understand I can’t do two jobs. I’m currently under contract with RCB,” Kirsten wrote to the board.
In a parallel development, Diana Edulji and Vinod Rai, the members of Committee of administrators, have hit another impasse over the coach issue. Edulji has maintained her stance that the appointment is invalid but Rai has used legal counsel from a retired Justice to press his case. Edulji wanted to keep the appointment in abeyance but minutes after her mail to Rai and the CEO Rahul Johri, the board issued a press release declaring Raman as the new coach.
Kirsten is the head coach of Royal Challengers of Bangalore in the Indian Premier League and it is understood the ad-hoc committee asked Kirsten to choose between the jobs as the rules prevents an individual from holding two posts. Kirsten refused to give up the RCB post, stating that he had applied for the women’s coach’s job as he didn’t think any conflict of interest would arise.
The ad-hoc committee then gave two options to the BCCI – Raman and Venkatesh Prasad, in that order.
A tall former opener from Tamil Nadu, Raman is currently the chief batting coach at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. He has coached India A, India under-19 teams, Kings XI Punjab and the Tamil Nadu state team in the past. The board used his services as back-up coach whenever Rahul Dravid was busy or on assignment with another India colts team.
Apart from Kirsten, former India pacer Prasad, Manoj Prabhakar, Ramesh Powar, Trent Johnston, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Brad Hogg and Kalpana Venkatachar were among the 28 candidates who showed interest in the head coach’s role. The board had to invite fresh application for coaches after Powar’s tenure as interim coach came to an end on November 30. Powar had found himself embroiled in a controversy with senior player Mithali Raj
Rai vs Edulji again
On Thursday when interviews were on at the board headquarters in Wankhede Stadium, heated emails were exchanged between Edulji and Rai. After the CEO Johri, also in the mail trail, had mentioned that retired Justice SriKrishna had agreed with the forming of the new ad-hoc committee, Edulji reiterated her stance to Rai.
“With due respect to the Learned Jurist who gave the legal opinion, I wish to state that permission from COA was not sought for taking this legal opinion and if the legal opinion was with the CEO and GM – Operations, then why was the opinion not circulated to us before and brought to our attention only after the interviews started. This is also a financial burden on BCCI without the permission of the COA. If the above cannot be termed as insubordination then what can be????”
Edulji further noted that it was the Cricket Advisory Committee should have been given more time.
“The entire process of selecting a qualified Coach for Women’s Cricket team is unconstitutional. I once again reiterate that we have been assigned the role of implementing the Lodha reforms which says the Coach of the Indian Team can be only be appointment by the CAC. Your unilateral decision of appointing the ad hoc committee is not only unconstitutional but also illegal,” she wrote to Rai.
However Rai saw it differently. “Please go ahead and release the announcement. Insubordination is not attracted as it is in continuation of action initiated earlier. Legal opinion taken from such a distinguished jurist also is favour of going ahead,” Rai wrote, addressing Saba Karim, General manager cricket operations, Johri and Edulji.