What’s the story?
In a move that comes as a surprise to Indian cricket fans, the head coach of the India women’s cricket team, Purnima Rau, and her assistant, Suman Sharma, were given the boot on Friday (April 21st).
While speaking to Cricbuzz, the former lambasted the BCCI and said, “They [BCCI] didn't have the decency to inform me directly. When I got to know from someone else, I was shocked. I feel sorry for the people in the management.. they cannot face me to tell me this, I guess. When the team loses, they bring me in. When they win, they take me out."
In case you didn’t know...
The sacked head coach Rau has had multiple stints with the Indian women’s team as a coach. In 2014, Rau was named as the head coach prior to the Women’s World T20 which was held in Bangladesh. But she was sacked soon after as the Indian team bit the dust in the group stage of the tournament.
However, she was recalled to coach the side in 2015 when India was desperate to earn direct qualification to the 2017 World Cup. Their last defeat was 16 games back and the team have enjoyed decent success under Rau.
The heart of the matter
Purnima Rau and her assistant Suman Sharma learned through the media that they have been sacked and have not yet received an official message from the BCCI. The move to sack them is a baffling move with the Women’s World Cup just a couple of months away. Rau, who has represented India as an all-rounder has remained at the helm since 2015, and her assistant, Sharma, has been with the team since November.
Under Rau’s reign as the head coach, the Indian team won the Asia Cup in 2016 and also clinched the T20 series against the Australians for the first time in history. In addition to this, the team managed to directly qualify for this year’s World Cup.
Despite all the success, Rau and her assistant were sacked and this has led to Rau pointing fingers at Padma Shri awardee and a member of the Lodha panel, Diana Edulji. Rau said that Edulji has always been resentful and went on to add that a sack without any explanation highlights the same about Edulji’s character.
Some of the senior players like the captain Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur and veteran Jhulan Goswami had always wanted a male coach and now, former Baroda batsman Tushar Arothe, who was previously the head coach from 2008-2012 of the women’s team, has been named as Rau’s successor.
The players will now have to swiftly adapt to Arothe’s methods as the sack comes just a couple of months away from the World Cup. The month-long tournament will begin on 24th of June and will conclude on 23rd of July.
Although the move to appoint a new coach was taken in the best interest of the side, the decision to dismiss Rau and Sharma without any notice will leave us pondering about the insensitivity of the BCCI.