Former South African batsman and India’s coach Gary Kirsten, along with WV Raman and Venkatesh Prasad, is the frontrunner to be the coach of India’s women’s team. Kirsten is the one most likely to get the role given his strong profile, which includes escalating the Indian men’s team to the top of the ICC Test rankings and coaching them to a World Cup triumph.
BCCI interviewed ten candidates including the likes of former cricketers such as Herschelle Gibbs, Dmitri Mascarenhas and a reapplication for the role by Ramesh Powar. Powar’s contract terminated on November 30 and was not handed an extension amid the fallout surrounding his role and influence in the side in the recent ICC Women’s World T20 in the Caribbean. While a semi-final loss might have contributed towards the non-extension, it is also likely that his rift with Mithali Raj that surfaced after the loss, led him out of consideration.
It also brings to question the players’ dynamic with the coach, not just Powar in particular. Earlier this year in June, there were reports of the players being unhappy with the then coach Tushar Arothe’s training regime. After the subsequent Asia Cup loss, they players fell out with Arothe which led to his imminent resignation. Perhaps a coach with a much wider spectrum of experience, such as Kirsten, can display his better management tactics to get this team on track to winning ways.
Interestingly, the current forerunner Kirsten was deemed ‘ineligible’ initially by the CoA over an issue of conflicting interests as he will remain the coach of the IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore at least until the end of the 2019 season. That seems to have been overlooked as BCCI’s primary motive here is to establish an order without any of the concurrent chaos.