Ramesh Powar: Harmanpreet evolved as a leader on and off the field
Ramesh Powar, a former India off-spinner and head coach of the women’s team, has not only shown ODI captain Mithali Raj in very poor light in his 2,530-word report (to the Board of Control for Cricket in India) on the just-ended World T20, but applauded Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana for their attitude.
Powar praised manager Trupti Bhattacharya too.
The 29-year-old Harmanpreet is India’s T20 captain, while the seven years younger Smriti is her deputy. Both are very highly rated and look destined to match the iconic status Mithali has achieved.
Mithali has represented India for 19 years and turns 36 next week.
It’s significant that Harmanpreet and Smriti made the ICC’s Team of the Tournament, with Poonam Yadav in the XI as well. India lost in the semi-final, to England, but Harmanpreet was named the Team of the Tournament’s captain.
An absolute honour that.
The Mithali-specific portion was published by The Telegraph on Thursday. The parts relevant to Harmanpreet, Smriti and Trupti follow...
ON CAPTAIN HARMANPREET: Evolved as a leader on and off the field. Kept everyone together, especially considering the fact that most of the players were young and inexperienced. Worked hard to build the team after the T20 series in Sri Lanka. Batted really well right through the tournament.
ON VICE-CAPTAIN SMRITI: A calm and composed vice-captain. Very proactive in sharing her views and experiences of the T20 format. Helped us create a healthy and competitive team culture. Came into form at the right time. Needs to be more consistent.
ON MANAGER TRUPTI: Worked really hard to keep a healthy environment. Excellent in her role at addressing the smallest to the biggest issues.
Powar had positive things to say about the teenaged Jemimah Rodrigues too. He wrote: “A promising talent with very good work routines. Understood her role in the team very maturely at such a young age. Kept all the young players together and also interacted well with the seniors.”
While Powar’s report would be hard for anybody with even an agenda to rubbish, it’s unlikely that the Board will appoint him as full-time head coach.
Mithali, after all, is a much bigger name and when Anil Kumble could be humiliated by this same dispensation, in June last year, Powar is much too small an individual.
So far, Powar has been seen as head coach in an interim capacity. However, he figured in the shortlist of six candidates to succeed Tushar Arothe, but the final round of interviews never quite took place (in August).
Two other former India cricketers, Atul Bedade and Sunil Joshi, also featured in that shortlist. Rajkumar Sharma, who has been associated with cricket’s biggest star of the present times — Virat Kohli — as well.