Amol Muzumdar, Tushar Arothe, Jon Lewis in the race to become India’s next Head Coach

The Indian women’s cricket team has been facing a coaching conundrum since December last year when Ramesh Powar was relocated to the National Cricket Academy, leaving the head coach position vacant. Hrishikesh Kanitkar stepped in as the interim batting coach, and the team even participated in the T20 World Cup without a head coach.

India's batting Coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar. PC: Getty Images
India’s batting Coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar. PC: Getty Images

In a bid to find a suitable candidate for the role, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) invited applications in May. Three candidates, namely Amol Muzumdar, Tushar Arothe, and Jon Lewis, a former county cricketer, were shortlisted for an interview conducted by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) headed by Ashok Malhotra. The interviews took place in Mumbai on July 1-2, with the CAC likely to evaluate presentations made by the candidates before announcing their decision by or before July 3.

Amol Muzumdar, a former coach of Mumbai, is considered the frontrunner for the position. However, it remains unclear if Hrishikesh Kanitkar, the current interim head coach, is among the shortlisted candidates. The BCCI is eager to appoint a coach before the team’s upcoming trip to Dhaka next month.

The position of head coach for the Indian women’s team has been unoccupied since December 2022, following Ramesh Powar’s abrupt removal as part of the BCCI’s “restructuring module,” just two months before the T20 World Cup in South Africa. Since then, Hrishikesh Kanitkar has taken on the interim role as the head coach.

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The BCCI aims to ensure continuity in coaching given the upcoming ICC events. With the T20 World Cup scheduled in Bangladesh in 2024 and the 50-over World Cup in India in 2025, the new coach is expected to be appointed for a two-year term.

Amol Muzumdar, in addition to being a contender for the Indian women’s head coach position, has also been offered the role of head coach for Baroda’s senior men’s team for the 2023-24 domestic season. Previously, Muzumdar served as the head coach of Mumbai until the 2022-23 domestic season. However, he is currently awaiting the CAC’s decision before accepting Baroda’s offer.

Tushar Arothe, a Ranji Trophy winner with Baroda, is another candidate in the running. He had two stints as the coach of the Indian women’s team, most notably from April 2017 to July 2018. During this period, the team reached the final of the 50-over World Cup in England. However, strained relations with a few senior players led to his resignation, citing “personal reasons” and emphasizing the need for players to step out of their comfort zones.

Jon Lewis, who was a strong contender for the head coach position with the England women’s team, narrowly missed out on securing the role. However, he has now emerged as a potential candidate for the India head coach position. Jon previously worked with the England women’s team as an assistant coach and batting consultant in recent years. He also has spent time coaching at the Durham, where he helped win the side win the Championship title in 2013 and the men’s national setups of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

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The coaching history of the Indian women’s team has been marked by controversies and changes. In 2021, the unceremonious removal of former opener WV Raman from the head coach’s position raised questions about the Cricket Advisory Committee and the selection panel led by Madan Lal and Neetu David, respectively. Raman, who guided the women’s team to the T20 World Cup final in Australia, was replaced by Ramesh Powar, who had previously been removed from the same role in 2018.

As the Indian women’s cricket team embarks on the search for a new head coach, the focus is now on finding a candidate who can bring stability, foster development, and lead the team to success in the upcoming ICC tournaments.

Sports have always been a huge part of my life, and having played cricket professionally for my state team, I gained a deeper understanding of what it takes to succeed in the world of sports. With an eye for detail and passion for sports, I’m hoping to make a lasting impact in the sports industry.

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