Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], December 6 (ANI): Ramesh Powar's term as India women's team head coach has ended just over two months before the next T20 World Cup in South Africa. India may be without a head coach for the forthcoming five-match Twenty20 International series against Australia at home.
For the time being, the team's support staff will be led by former India allrounder Hrishikesh Kanitkar, who has been appointed batting coach. Kanitkar, who most recently led a second-string Indian men's team on a limited-overs tour of New Zealand, has joined the women's squad in Mumbai ahead of the Australia series, which begins on December 9.
Powar is poised to return to his position as a spin-bowling coach at the National Cricket Academy (NCA). The BCCI, in a statement, described Powar's move to men's cricket as part of a restructuring module. He previously served as the NCA's head coach between 2019 and 2020 before taking over as head coach of the Mumbai men's squad, which he led to the Vijay Hazare Trophy title in March 2021.
Kanitkar's appointment as a batting consultant is a step forward from his current position at the NCA. Earlier this year, he was the head coach of India's triumphant Under-19 team, who won the World Cup in the Caribbean. Aside from his NCA tenure, Kanitkar has also coached Tamil Nadu and was a player-mentor at Rajasthan near the end of his career. Kanitkar, like Powar, has been an integral part of NCA's resurgence under former India captain and current India men's head coach Rahul Dravid.
Powar has had two tenures with the women's squad, the most recent of which was mediocre. He assumed charge in May 2021 and oversaw the team's preparations for the 2022 World Cup (50-overs), where they crashed out with three victories in seven matches. More recently, the side finished second to Australia in the Commonwealth Games before winning their first-ever white-ball series in England, blanking the hosts 3-0 in the One-Day Internationals. His final series with the team ended in victory, with India winning their seventh Asia Cup title in October.
"I have had an enriching experience in my stint as head coach of the senior women's team. Over the years I have worked closely with some of the stalwarts of the game and upcoming talents of the country. With my new role at the NCA, I will be looking [to use] my experience [from] over the years to help build talent for the future. I look forward to working in tandem with [NCA head coach] VVS Laxman for the further development of the game and bench strength," ESPN quoted Powar as saying in a BCCI release.
For Kanitkar, the five-match series against Australia will be followed by a tri-series in South Africa, also involving West Indies, in the lead-up to the World Cup.
"I see tremendous prospects in this team, and we have a good mix of youth and experience. I believe this team is ready for the challenge ahead. We have a few marquee events coming up and it is going to be exciting for the team and myself as batting coach," said Kanitkar as quoted by ESPN. (ANI)