Former Indian women cricket team coach Tushar Arothe, who too enjoyed a successful stint with this time, from 2017-2018, talked to Cricketnext, about various aspects that are hampering women’s cricket in India.
Tushar Arothe on Indian women Cricket Team
The former Baroda Ranji player minced no words and admitted that there are a few problems that need to be dealt with, rather quickly.
Following are the Excerpts of the interview to the Cricketnext
On WV Raman’s Sacking
Well, I believe there were over 35 applications for the post. Then, they shortlisted it to eight. I don’t really know what the criteria was or how did they scrutinise the applications. I personally think it is a little unfair on Raman.
If you look at his tenure, he took the girls to the final of the T20 World Cup, and most of the other period under him, went in lockdown due to Covid-19. So once can’t really judge his tenure.
Also, if you’re looking at the South Africa series, these girls were playing a lot of cricket already, but the Indians girls were playing after a year and were rusty. So he had no chance to work with the girls, and there was no camp. So they could have given one more year to WV.
Why no Extension for Raman, and Why Someone like Ramesh Powar — Who Was Removed Earlier, Brought in?
Well, we had all heard about the problem between Powar and Mithali Raj during the World Cup in West Indies, 2018.
But now it’s a fresh start and now someone who has a stronghold in the team, should intervene and take a stock of the whole situation and make sure that both the parties are on the same page this time around.
Whatever happened in the past, we need to forget it here. It is the future of the Indian team we are talking about, here. I mean both need to have the same goal now, which is winning the World Cup, and not lose in the semis or finals.
Why are So Many Coaches Being Changed, That Too so Frequently?
Simply put, there is a lot of politics in women’s cricket. In comparison, men’s cricket is very transparent. What I have seen from very close quarters in the team is that, there is a lot of appeasement going on. I think the blame falls on former women players.
Also, it is about the culture in the team. If the team doesn’t do well in a tournament, the coach is sacked. If a player doesn’t get along well with the coach, the latter is changed at their behest.
You look at the coach before me, the way Purnima Rau was treated after doing so well with the team is beyond belief.
I think, in my case, what went wrong was I asked the players to focus on competing with the top sides and prepare accordingly for them.
Some players didn’t really like my approach since I also told them that the effort put in during their 2017 World Cup campaign — where they reached the final — wasn’t going to be enough in the future.
Why is Fielding Still a Grey Area for Team India?
When I took over, the girls were doing only one session per day, which is not enough at all — during the camp. I arranged for two sessions in a day for the team, since this is not a team of a charitable trust.
This is the Indian women’s cricket team, which needs to train like champions to be champions. In fact, I used to squeeze in a special session for three girls everyday, where we would do specialized, skill-based training.
Initially, the girls were all for it, but it all started to change, when I pushed them a little bit harder over their fitness. This is clearly the one area where we are still lacking. If you’re not fit, your fielding certainly goes for a toss. Again, this wasn’t a welcome move for some.
It’s not like I asked the girls to sweat it out alone, while I chill in the hotel room. No. Each and every staff member used to be present in every training session to work on the grey areas. All I can say is, the two seniormost players are still ready to give their best in every session, and every other player should learn from them.
How is the Bond Within the Team, or How Was it During Your Tenure?
I can’t really talk about the current scenario, but can certainly talk about my time as the coach. In my first assignment as coach, in South Africa, I didn’t see a great bond in the girls. We used to focus a lot on team gelling and team-building exercises.
So it did reap benefits for the team then. I think for the common good of the team, the girls will have to display that camaraderie every time they step on the field. Senior players again have a big role to play, they need to lift the team up now.
How Can All the External Factors be Handled Well by Those in Power?
I think players should be made accountable for their’s and team’s performance. That’s how the responsibility will come in the team.
And the other would be, ex-women players — who do have any business with the team or its functioning, should strictly stay away. I feel currently, that is not the case and there is an involvement of unnecessary people as well. I mean, they all mean well for the team, but it is clearly not helping, says Tushar Arothe.
Is Selection Still a Problem in Team India?
The selectors don’t have a vision. We were playing against South Africa after a long break. Shikha Pandey was not included in the team and I heard that she was rested. I mean, how do you rest a player who hasn’t played for 12 months? It is a complete mess.
Look at Taniya Bhatia, the safest pair of hands in the team. She wasn’t included in the team. Now again for the tour of England, these players are back. I ask, on what basis were they left out, and have been brought back now, says Tushar Arothe.
As of now, BCCI appoints Ramesh Powar as head coach for the Indian women’s cricket team by replacing WV Raman, who had previously coached the team for a short span of time.