The three-member ad-hoc committee appointed to select the Indian women’s head coach has recommended the names of Gary Kirsten, Venkatesh Prasad and WV Raman to the BCCI after interviewing 10 applicants on Thursday in Mumbai. The position has been vacant since Ramesh Powar’s term expired on November 30.
Powar had reapplied for the role after not being handed an extension amid controversial circumstances; he was among the three candidates, including Raman and Manoj Prabhakar, to be interviewed in person at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai but was not among the final three candidates recommended by the ad-hoc committee.
Five other applicants from the shortlist, including Kirsten, were interviewed via Skype. Kalpana Venkatachar, the former India women’s Test batsman, was interviewed over phone.
While Kirsten has coached the India and South Africa men’s teams before working with Delhi Daredevils and currently with Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, Venkatesh Prasad was the India bowling coach with the victorious India men’s team during the inaugural World T20 in 2007. Prasad then became the coach of Uttar Pradesh in the domestic circuit before taking over as the chairman of India’s junior selection committee, a position he relinquished earlier this year to become the bowling coach of Kings XI Punjab.
Raman, meanwhile, has had more domestic coaching experience. He has served as the head coach of state teams Bengal and Tamil Nadu, the assistant coach of Kings XI (2013) and the batting coach of Kolkata Knight Riders when they won their second title in 2014. Later, he was named the batting coach at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru in 2015.
Anshuman Gaekwad, one of the three members on the ad-hoc committee alongside Kapil Dev and Shantha Rangswamy, said the panel had done its “job in the best manner” it could and that the decision would be taken by the board.
“[Three names were recommended] for any last-minute changes, who’s available or not,” he said. “The interviews were conducted only for the head coach and not any deputy or assistant role or any other support staff.”
Powar, the first of the three applicants to have arrived at the headquarters for the interview, had made it to the initial shortlist from a long list of 28 candidates after the position opened up in the wake of the non-renewal of his contract.
His interim role with the Indian side involved limited-over series victories in Sri Lanka in September, wins over Australia A in an unofficial T20I series in Mumbai where India fielded their regular side, and an unbeaten run to the World T20 semi-finals for the first time in eight years that ended in a loss to England in Antigua.
The defeat, headlined by the controversial omission of India’s senior-most player and ODI captain Mithali Raj from the starting XI, led to Raj accusing Powar of trying to “destroy” her career and the CoA member Diana Edulji of bias. That was to be the first of several subsequent leaks of official communication made with the BCCI via email, and included a report in which Powar made a scathing assessment of Raj’s conduct during the World T20, and also the two emails sent by India T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur and vice-captain Smriti Mandhana urging the board and the CoA to let Powar continue as the head coach.