In his long career, Ramesh Powar has never been part of the World Cup, in either limited-overs format. That is set to change when India takes on New Zealand in the Women’s World T20 opener on Friday — Powar participates as India’s head coach.
He will have a task on his hands. Two former coaches of the Indian women’s team — Tushar Arothe and Purnima Rau — admit that for any coach, an ICC event is a test of character.
In June, 2018, Arothe had quit as India’s coach after a year-long stint. Though he had cited personal reasons for his exit, there were speculations some players had complained about his style of coaching. “It is a thankless job, just like the selectors. If a team does well, then the selectors are praised for doing a good job, but if the team doesn’t perform, then we say selectors haven’t done a good thing. That’s how it is for the coach as well,” Arothe said.
‘One game at a time’
Having guided India to the final of the Women’s World Cup last year, Arothe believes it is important to take one game at a time in a big tournament like the World Cup. “It is a big event. T20 is anybody’s game. We need to take one game at a time. The focus should be on the first game against New Zealand. If we start well, chances of making it to the semifinals are bright,” Arothe said.
Rau, who was India’s coach during the Women’s World T20 in 2016, feels it is important for a coach to give space to the players and ensure that things are under control. “A World Cup is a World Cup. The impact it has is huge. For everyone, it is a huge challenge. Winning it means being on top of the world, since the best teams compete here,” Rau said, adding: “This team has experience and youth and has a good mix.”
Rau believes every coach has his own way of handling players. “Some are aggressive, some are cool and calm. It is important to keep the players in a good space. Of course, you have put in hard work coming into the World Cup. But have some good words for them and give them the space,” Rau said.
So far, India hasn’t made much of a mark in the World T20; the only time it reached the semifinals was in 2010. Can Powar help India buck the trend this time?