Ramesh Powar, the Head Coach 1.0: A revisit

Ramesh Powar with Indian players. © Getty Images

On Thursday (May 13), BCCI announced Ramesh Powar as the Head Coach of India. The announcement came after the Cricket Advisory Committee, led by Madan Lal, also comprising Sulakshana Naik and RP Singh, unanimously recommended him to the post. Among other shortlisted people were the incumbent WV Raman, former India men’s stumper Ajay Ratra, former cricketer Mamatha Maben.

It will be Powar’s second stint with the national side. He was in charge of the team for over seven months back in 2018.

Here’s what happened on the previous occasion he was at the helm:

  • Appointed as the interim head coach till T20 World Cup, 2018 after Tushar Arothe resigned:
    Under Tushar Arothe, India had made the title-clash of the Women’s World Cup in 2017. But months ahead of the T20 World Cup in 2018, Arothe stepped down due to personal reasons. Powar initially was appointed as the interim coach, before being handed over the reins till the end of the global tournament.
  • India embarked on the tour to Sri Lanka in September 2018:
    India’s first assignment under Powar in charge was their limited overs tour to Sri Lanka. They played three ODIs and five T20Is.
  • India won the ODIs 2-1:
    India bowled Sri Lanka out for 99 in the first ODI and then sealed the series with a match to spare a game later. However, the hosts then pulled off a record chase to end the series 2-1 in the tourists’ favour. The matches were part of the ICC Women’s Championship.
  • Spoke about playing attacking, fearless cricket and having a positive mindset:
    In an interview with this portal, Powar spoke elaborately of his plans with the team and talked about the wicket-taking mindset that he was inculcating in the team. He also spoke about dealing with the team with two different captains – Mithali Raj in the ODIs and Harmanpreet Kaur in T20Is.
  • India beat Sri Lanka 4-0 in the T20Is:
    Jemimah Rodrigues scored close to 200 runs at a strike rate in excess of 150, while Poonam Yadav returned eight wickets in the series, which the tourists won convincingly. One match was abandoned due to rain.
  • Began T20 World Cup journey with wins in warm-up matches:
    India defeated West Indies and England in the warm-up matches of the T20 World Cup, 2018. Powar praised the batters for being fearless while Mark Robinson, then England coach, heaped praise for India’s “old-fashioned” tactics of bowling into the wicket.
  • India make the semis of the T20 World Cup for the first time since 2014:
    A solid hand of 51 off 56 balls by Mithali Raj, followed by Radha Yadav’s three for 15 helped India beat Ireland and progress to the semi-final of the T20 World Cup for the first time since 2014.
  • England down India in the semi-final of T20 World Cup, 2018:
    Was it the dew? Was it the unfamiliarity of playing under lights? India went down to England in the crucial game and bowed out of the tournament. It was India’s first game under lights in that competition. Powar’s contract had expired. Moreover, they had benched Raj despite her twin fifties in the series, that began a series of unwanted news.
  • Powar’s stint ends but he re-applies for the post of Head Coach:
    The displeasure and hot waves of the incident of not playing Raj in the semi-final spread quickly. The letters of both Raj and Powar, addressed to the board were out in public. However, after learning about the backing he had from Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana, Powar reapplied for the post.
  • WV Raman appointed the Head Coach:
    The ad-hoc committee consisting of Shantha Rangaswamy, Kapil Dev and Anshuman Gaekwad chose Gary Kirsten to the post. However, Kirsten wanted to keep his role in the IPL as the coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore, which meant, the committee went ahead with their second preference, Raman.

Powar’s first assignment in his second tenure as the Head Coach of the Indian side will be the tour to England. India will play a Test in Bristol, starting June 16, before playing three ODIs in Bristol, Taunton and Worcester. The teams will then feature in three T20Is, which will be played in Northampton, Hove and Chelmsford.