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BCCI Officials Target CoA Chief Vinod Rai on Women’s Coach Fracas

Devadyuti Das |Cricketnext |December 4, 2018, 2:30 PM IST
BCCI Officials Target CoA Chief Vinod Rai on Women’s Coach Fracas

A day after T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur and vice-captain Smriti Mandhana urged Ramesh Powar should continue as the coach of the national women’s team, officials in the BCCI are voicing concerns over the handling of the entire saga by the Chairman of Committee of Administrators (CoA) Vinod Rai.

In the wake of a bitter war of words with senior player Mithali Raj over her exclusion from the playing XI for the World T20 semifinal against England, Powar’s contract wasn’t extended. Instead, applications have been invited for the position with interviews scheduled later this month.

The situation is a throwback to what occurred less than five months ago when previous coach Tushar Arothe was replaced by Powar after a public spat with the players. However, unlike the Arothe episode, outgoing coach Powar has the support of Harmanpreet and Mandhana.

“Firstly, who has taken this decision not to extend Ramesh Powar’s contract and invite applications for new women’s coach? Is it the BCCI or CoA?”, an irate senior BCCI official told CricketNext. “It is only one man, Vinod Rai in his capacity as the head of the CoA who has taken this decision arbitrarily, without consulting anyone in the BCCI or his colleague at the CoA (Diana Edulji).”

It is believed that the second member of the CoA, Diana Edulji, was not in favour of Powar’s removal. However, with only two members making up the CoA, Rai’s deciding vote as the chairman was the final word on the matter. It is unclear yet if Powar will apply for the position again, now that he has the public support of Harmanpreet and Mandhana.

“CoA have invited applications for the post of women’s coach. Powar is free to apply again. We are still waiting for all the applications to come in, before the CoA can sit down to decide,” sources close to the CoA told CricketNext.

However, BCCI officials aren’t convinced by that argument and accuse Rai of running the board like his “fiefdom” without following established protocol.

“How will this new women’s team’s contract will be valid when the CoA’s tenure is over and Rai has to hand over control to the new management?”, a BCCI official asked.

“The women’s coach’s contract will be null and void because BCCI committees have not been consulted and now we know even captain and senior players are against the move.”

In separate e-mails on Monday night, both Harmanpreet and Mandhana urged that Powar should continue as the coach keeping in mind the T20 World Cup in 2020.

"Ramesh Powar was not single-handedly responsible (for decision to drop Mithali Raj)," Harmanpreet wrote in her e-mail.

"The decision was entirely based on cricketing logic and observations from the past. Keeping in mind the need of the hour, me, Smriti, the selector (Sudha Shah) and the coach together in the presence of our manager felt that we should go ahead with the winning combination. And I believe it should have come to your knowledge that the intent was not personal but entirely based for the welfare of the team."

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