Team India is currently without a Head Coach. This is concerning considering India has a slew of important assignments ahead. Especially, with the ongoing tri-series with West Indies and South Africa that precedes the most important assignment of all, the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023, India really needs a head coach.
Hrishikesh Kanitkar who is the batting coach is managing the reins of the team but in the absence of a fixed head coach, BCCI’s policy of not backing head coaches for longer and the internal politics of the team dynamics not playing out well has once again to the fore. The issue of not giving a long rope to the Head Coaches to sustain on the job long enough certainly does not bode well for India’s fortunes.
Let’s have a look at the Head Coaches who have served Team India in the past.
Anju Jain (2011-13)
The former India cricketer has represented India in 8 tests and 65 ODIs and she holds the distinction of having played in four consecutive World Cups. She replaced Sudha Shah and it was between 2011 and 2013 that she coached the Indian Women’s Team. In her two years tenure, she guided the team admirably but there were some complications that caused her to get axed.
Purnima Rau (2014-17)
Another former India cricketer who can be credited for changing the fortunes of Team India while at the helm is Purnima Rau. It was after the disastrous World Cup exit that she was appointed as the Head Coach but in 2014 was unceremoniously sacked after the T20 World Cup. Once again recalled for the New Zealand series in 2015, she brought a turnaround as India had a very productive time as they won the series 3-2 and even won the T20 series in Australia. They carried on the form to defeat Sri Lanka but another tough outing in the 2016 T20 World Cup and a couple of wins versus West Indies and the Asia Cup victory solidified her position. It was in 2017 after she coached India in the qualifier in Columbo, a misunderstanding with the players who wanted her out meant she was sacked out of the blue.
Tushar Arothe (2013-14) and (2017-18)
Tushar Arothe is a former Ranji Trophy player with more than 100 first-class matches who coached India in two stints. Appointed in 2013, he served as the Head Coach till 2014 and after his departure in early 2014, after a significant amount of time, he was appointed as the Head Coach ahead of the 2017 World Cup after Purnima Rau was removed as the coach. He was heralded for guiding Team India who made it to the finals but we lost heartbreakingly versus England. Although he sustained on the job for a few more months, it was not without controversy after top Indian players complained to the Committee of Administrators about his ineffective coaching and training methods and subsequently he was sacked. The losses to Bangladesh in the Asia Cup and poor performances in the tri-series with England and Australia also did not help his cause.
WV Raman (2018-2021)
WV Raman, the former India cricketer and domestic cricket legend was appointed in 2018 as the Head Coach for Team India. Although he had a very successful time with a lot of significant bilateral series wins and the runners-up finish in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup with Team India it was quite surprising that he was not retained as the head coach of the senior women’s team after the Cricket Advisory Committee picked Ramesh Powar to replace him. Before quitting, he reflected on how there is a ‘Prima Donnas’ culture in the team and reportedly even sent a letter to the then BCCI President, Sourav Ganguly and then NCA head Rahul Dravid a roadmap to transform women’s cricket in India if needed.
Ramesh Powar (2018) and (2021-22)
Ramesh Powar is another significant name in the myriad list of coaches that Team India has had and served two stints. One spanning in 2018 ended rather abruptly when he got into a dispute with star batter Mithali Raj over her exclusion from the crucial semi-final encounter versus England in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in 2018. He was back again in May 2021 when he guided the team in the ICC Women’s ODI World Cup in 2022 where they crashed out early and also was credited for the silver medal finish in the Commonwealth Games and the 3-0 ODI series victory versus England in their conditions not to forget the Asia Cup victory being the highlights of his mixed bag coaching career with India.
I am a first year postgraduate student pursuing a MA in Media and Communication Studies at Christ University, Bengaluru. I am a podcaster, blogger and an avid cricket fan. When not glued to cricket matches, you can find me submerged in books and thinking about cricket all the time.