As the lockdown changes to unlock phase 1 in the country, there have been a series of reports highlighting the vulnerability of people to harassment. This can be mental or physical as well.
As women have traditionally been given the role of caregivers, they are naturally more prone to harassment in both physical and mental well-being. In a recent report, the coach of senior women’s cricket team has been removed after being alleged of harassment by a senior player. Atul Bedade was serving as the coach of Baroda Senior women’s cricket team. He is a former Indian player.
The decision to get rid of Atul from the post was taken by the apex council of Baroda Cricket Council. The chain of events has been very interesting. Bedade was suspended in March following the complaint leveled against him. Moreover, an inquiry was initiated against the coach by BCA. However, in a surprising turn of events, the complainant withdrew her complaint. Consequently, the suspension was also revoked by the board on Tuesday only. But, recently it is being revealed that considering “the sensitivity of the matter and in the best interest of BCA”, Atul shall no longer be the coach of the side.
Satyajit Gaekwad, chairman of BCA’s press and publicity committee, says that “An inquiry was conducted against Bedade after some players accused him of harassment. His suspension has been withdrawn but the apex council has decided to not take his service anymore”. The incident highlights the dearth of attention we have given to sensitive issues in our sporting arena. There is hardly any standard operating procedure for cases like these where serious charges are leveled against an influential individual.
A proper investigation seems to be a luxury at these Cricket Boards and so does justice. A guideline for immediate future and effective policies are need of the hour. Safety training and societal awareness should be an integral part of women players. If men can have mental conditioning programs and coaches, women deserve an opening to keep them safe. Moreover, institutional changes are also essential so as to assure justice to all the parties.
With cases like these, parents, who were unwilling of letting their young girl child wander alone in the stadium, will be more hesitant. They will be demotivated. Moreover, the place of the coach as the “Guru” seems to fade under the light of such cases.
Loves all things female cricket