The saga over who will be the next coach of the Indian women’s cricket team rumbles on, and you’d have to be a brave person to try and predict how this one will end. It gets especially strange when you consider Ramesh Powar has reapplied to carry on his tenure as coach of the women's national side, but after an ad hoc committee was set up by Vinod Rai to select a new coach, you’d have to come to the conclusion that Powar’s race is run.
#RameshPowar said he re-applied for the job as he couldn't let Harmanpreet Kaur down: "Yes, I have applied this evening because Smriti (Mandhana), Harmanpreet (Kaur) have supported me and I can't let them down by not applying" @BCCIWomen pic.twitter.com/x93mXm6B7s— Cricket24.com (@Cricket24_COM) December 12, 2018
The BCCI has set very high standards and outlined incredibly tough criteria for the next coach to match as they demand their next appointee must be a qualified level C Coach, have played or coached internationally, or played at least 50 first-class matches. By doing this, the BCCI has automatically reduced the number of applications they will receive, and it’s clear to see they are looking to make a high-profile appointment.
Herschelle Gibbs was the latest applicant to throw his hat into the ring after coaching the Kuwaiti national team as well as being appointed head coach of Afghanistan Premier League side Balkh Legends. Gibbs was unable to steer Kuwait to the T20 World Cup in Australia after finishing fourth in the Asia qualifying group.
Rather it was the UAE and Qatar that advanced to the finals where the UAE won and, by doing so, booked their place at the T20 World Cup finals.
It’s difficult to say how much you can judge Gibbs for that and whether or not Kuwait’s campaign was a failure because of him or the lack of quality within the ranks. For instance, now that the UAE have qualified for the T20 World Cup, they are at outrageously long odds of 1000/1 to win the event in cricket betting, which does illustrate how poor some of the other teams in the qualifying process were.
In fairness, it’s not Gibbs’ coaching CV that is likely to get him the job, but rather what he did for South Africa with the willow.
The former Proteas opener played 90 Tests, 248 ODIs, and 23 T20s for South Africa over an international career that spanned 14 years. The 44-year-old's debut was against India in 1996 at Kolkata, and now the question is will he become a lot more familiar with the famous Indian grounds over the next few years?
Appointing Gibbs could be considered a decision out of left field given that stronger and possibly more experienced coaches have applied, such as Dav Whatmore and Tom Moody, but that wouldn’t necessarily make it a bad decision. Of course, it's true that Gibbs was a passionate cricketer that preferred to thrill rather than dig in, but that maverick streak could contribute towards him being a coach India's women's team may actually need.
Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy have been named on the panel to decide the next head coach of Indian Women Cricket Team ☑@therealkapildev#KapilDev #AnshumanGaekwad #ShanthaRangaswamy #BCCIWomen— Indian Women Cricket ?? (@BCCI_Women) December 11, 2018
If the administrators are looking for a coach who is able to instil a sense of belief in the players and subsequently get them playing without fear of failure then Gibbs is the ideal candidate. Some would argue that if a coach was successful in doing that by having their side playing cricket without the shackles of trepidation weighing them down then success would follow, and a large amount of it too. The BCCI could do a lot worse than Gibbs and really, this could be a match made in heaven.