Gary Kirsten has a happy association with Indian cricket. The former South Africa batsman helped India win the World Cup after a gap of 28 years when they lifted the 2011 edition in front of their home fans. It was during Kirsten’s reign that India had climbed the top of the ICC Test rankings in 2009. In 2018, the good times might return to Indian cricket, this time for the women’s team. According to sources in the BCCI, Kirsten, along with former India batsman WV Raman were shortlisted for the post of coach for the India women’s cricket team. The other candidates who were shortlisted and whose interviews were taken were Venkatesh Prasad, Manoj Prabhakar, Trent Johnston, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Brad Hogg and Kalpana Venkatachar.
Ramesh Powar, whose tenure as coach was not renewed following India’s controversial loss in the semi-final of the ICC Women’s World T20 against England, was interviewed but reportedly not shortlisted. Following the defeat, differences emerged from the Indian dressing room that there was a face-off between Powar and the team’s star player Mithali Raj. Powar termed Mithali ‘aloof’ and ‘difficult to handle’ while Mithali lashed out at Powar and Committee of Administrators member Diana Edulji. Powar's controversial interim tenure ended on November 30 but he decided to apply after T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur and her deputy Smriti Mandhana came out in strong support of the former India spinner.
The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), comprising Chairman Vinod Rai and former India captain Diana Edulji, have been divided over the coach selection process. However, BCCI acting treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry and Edulji launched a joint attack on Rai. With the Supreme Court's next hearing scheduled for January 17, the treasurer said it would have been appropriate to conduct the interviews after the hearing to avoid running into legal tangles.
"Would it not be appropriate to wait till the 17th of January, ie; the next date of hearing before the SC and keep the present matter of coach selection in abeyance till then and have either (Ramesh) Powar continue or have someone else take charge till then?" Chaudhry wrote in his letter. "It would avoid unnecessary legal issues and unwanted controversy.
An ad-hoc selection committee, comprising former captain Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy, has recommended the names to the Board. Chaudhry said the BCCI cannot approve an appointment in the current situation.
"Since there is no decision of the CoA in the matter of the selection of the coach, the process and an appointment if any in the present facts and circumstances, are without jurisdiction and without authority and an appointment that may be a result of this process can in no manner be called an appointment for and on behalf of the BCCI."
Edulji, a former India captain, wrote to Rai Thursday morning, asking him to put the interview process on hold, but the ex-Comptroller and Auditor General of India gave the go ahead after taking former Supreme Court judge B M Srikrishna's opinion on the legality of the move.