Former off-spinner and women's team coach Ramesh Powar has been named India A bowling coach for the upcoming series against South Africa A. "He has been appointed only for the South Africa A series," a BCCI official told PTI on Tuesday. Powar, who played two Tests and 31 ODIs for India, was embroiled in a controversy late last year after he fell out with senior women's team player Mithali Raj when he was the head coach. Powar had reapplied for the same position but the Cricket Advisory Committee headed by 1983 World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev chose W V Raman as his successor. India A will be playing two four day games and a five match unofficial 'ODI' series against South Africa A. The one-day series will be played in Thiruvananthapuram beginning from Thursday.
Powar got no extension into his tenure as the coach of the women’s cricket team after the Board of Control for Cricket in India invited applications for the application of the post. Powar, whose tenure ended on November 30, was involved in an ugly face-off with Mithali Raj after India’s star player was benched for the semi-final of the ICC Women’s World T20 against England which India lost by eight wickets. Several officials in the Indian cricket board were not happy with the way how Powar dealt with the dropping of Mithali and that he acted on a ‘phone call’ from an influential board member to drop India’s leading run-getter.
The situation involving Powar and Mithali flared up when Powar admitted that his professional relationship with Mithali was strained as he always found her aloof and difficult to handle. Earlier on Tuesday, Mithali slammed Committee of Administrators’ member Diana Edulji and Powar. Mithali said while Powar humiliated her during the ICC Women's World T20, Edulji used her position against her.
Aftrwards, the 35-year old cricketer tweeted, "I'm deeply saddened & hurt by the aspersions cast on me. My commitment to the game & 20yrs of playing for my country, the hard work, sweat, in vain. Today, my patriotism doubted, my skill set questioned & all the mudslinging- it's the darkest day of my life. May god give strength".
Mithali’s exclusion took an ugly turn following the team’s loss in the semi-final, with the player’s manager calling Indian women’s cricket team skipper Harmanpreet a "manipulative, lying, immature, undeserving captain" in a series of tweets. Mithali’s manager, Annisha Gupta, spoke to ESPNCricinfo and confirmed that the tweets belonged to her handle and defended her statements. However, Gupta deleted the tweets later after the confirmation.
The scenario regarding the women’s cricket team coaching has been dodgy. Tushar Arothe quit following differences with the senior players over training methods in August while the situation involving Powar has decimated the morale of the team and created differences between Mithali and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur.