Days after BCCI put out an advertisement to hire a new head coach for the Indian women’s team, Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana, two of the senior-most players in India women’s cricket, have strongly urged the board to stick with Ramesh Powar who was the coach till November 30.
In an e-mail sent on Monday to the BCCI, Harmanpreet and Mandhana, the captain and vice-captain of India’s T20 team, said Powar had a very positive impact on the Indian team since he was appointed as the interim head coach in September, and that he should carry on till the 2020 World Cup.
Powar’s contract was until November 30, but the BCCI decided not to give the year-long extension which was contingent on a positive appraisal. Instead the BCCI opted to advertise for the head coach position, with interviews scheduled for December 20.
Harmanpreet and Mandhana marked the e-mail to the two-member committee of administrators (CoA), Rahul Johri (BCCI CEO), Saba Karim (head of women’s cricket) as well as the three BCCI office bearers. Both players were unavailable for comments so it could not be ascertained what exactly prompted them to send out the e-mail.
However, ESPNcricinfo understands that the players wanted to let the BCCI top brass know Powar’s impact had on the team despite getting embroiled in the controversy related to the omission of Mithali Raj from the semi-finals of the World T20. Raj had accused Powar of trying to “destroy” her career, and Powar replied saying Raj had threatened to retire if she was not allowed to open in the WT20.
After India lost to England in the WT20 semis, Harmanpreet had said it was a collective decision to leave out Raj. ESPNcricinfo understands, in the email, both Harmanpreet and Mandhana reiterated that point saying all decisions on playing XI for all matches at the WT20 were unanimous and always taken in the interests of the team. They also pointed out that the final XI was agreed upon by the captain, vice-captain, coach and selector on tour.
However, the main emphasis of the email was on the impact Powar has had on the team during his short stint. It is understood that Harmanpreet and Mandhana pointed out to the BCCI that with India’s next international assignment, a bilateral tour of New Zealand in January, and the next T20 World Cup in 15 months, India could not afford to change another coach – Powar had replaced Tushar Arothe in July.
Harmanpreet and Mandhana said that Powar’s biggest strength was he had got all players – seniors and juniors – into a state of mind where they played to win. Powar, the pair said, had changed the approach of the team and made the players gain immense self-belief