Victorian Women’s Cricket Team faces Coaching Challenges Amid Leadership Shifts

One of Australia’s most successful state teams, the Victorian women’s cricket team, has enjoyed significant success under the Cricket Victoria banner, although not lately. While the board aims for a revival, fresh concerns arose when the newly appointed head coach resigned just two weeks into a two-year contract. However, a replacement has now been named.

Victorian Women's Cricket Team faces Coaching Challenges Amid Leadership Shifts
Victorian Women’s Cricket Team faces Coaching Challenges Amid Leadership Shifts

Jarrad Loughman, first appointed as the head coach of the Victoria women’s team in 2021, led the team for two and a half seasons before exiting mid-season in 2023. Dilip Samaraweera, who served as the acting head coach last season, was officially named to lead Cricket Victoria’s women’s team for the next two seasons on May 8, 2024.

Dilip initially joined Cricket Victoria as a specialist batting coach in 2008 and progressed to the head coach role. However, fast-forward to May 21, just two weeks after his appointment was announced, Dilip resigned from his position. The former Test and One-Day International player for Sri Lanka made this decision following a disagreement over the appointment of an assistant batting coach.

Cricket Victoria’s CEO Nick Cummins in a recent statement revealed that, “During the recruitment process Dulip had expressed a desire to make a specific coaching appointment in his support team. That appointment was unable to be facilitated due to internal policies we have in place. Following further conversations, Dulip decided he would prefer not to remain in the role.”

As understood from 9News’ Tom Morris, Dilip Samaraweera had requested the appointment of his brother, Tilan Samaraweera, to fill the assistant batting coach role, but this request was declined. Cricket Victoria maintained a firm stance that one relative should not report to another.

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Andrew Christie has been named as Dilip’s replacement for the head coach role. Andrew joined Cricket Victoria in 2021, leading the Female Emerging Player Program. He was previously a Premiership-winning coach with Dandenong’s women’s program and has also worked as an assistant coach with the Melbourne Renegades in the WBBL.

Victoria’s Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) title wins date back to the 2002-03 and 2004-05 seasons, and they have finished as runners-up on 11 occasions, most recently in 2020-21. Notably, Victoria showed strong performance by winning 7 of their 12 games in the 2023-24 season, securing victory in seven of their last eight games to finish third and it is hoped they can capitalize on this momentum moving forward.

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