Former India all-rounder Shubhangi Kulkarni says that both Ramesh Powar and Mithali Raj should move on from their past tussle, and focus on the present with an important tour to England coming up and the World Cup next year.
On Thursday, Ramesh Powar was re-instated as the India Women coach, replacing WV Raman, after he was sacked in 2018 following a well-documented fall-out with senior batsman Mithali Raj.
Powar, who coached the side to the semi-final of the 2018 T20 World Cup, was shown the exit gate after Raj said she felt “deflated, depressed and let down” by the coach during the tournament following her exclusion from the eleven in the semi-final. Powar then countered it back revealing that Raj had “threatened to retire” mid-tournament if she wasn’t given the opener’s slot.
Shubhangi Kulkarni, one of India’s finest all-rounder of the 20th century, reckons both Powar and Raj are professionals and would respect each other’s position in the side, and have the common aim of taking India women cricket forward.
“I was not privy to what exactly happened in 2018, and read about it in the media. I think we should focus on what we should do now and there is no point in going back to what happened then. I am sure both Powar and Mithali are professionals and will respect each other’s roles in the team.
“They both will play a major part in the success of the team and need to be at their best. I am very sure that they will do whatever it takes to ensure that they are successful,” Shubhangi Kulkarni was quoted by news18.com as saying.
All players would love to play Test cricket even if it means one Test: Shubhangi Kulkarni
Under Raj, the India women will tour England next month for a one-off Test followed by white-ball matches. This Test would be India’s first Test since 2014. They played two Tests in 2014 – after 2006 -against England and South Africa each, and won both of them under Raj.
Shubhangi Kulkarni, who took 60 wickets and scored 700 runs in 19 Tests, feels that the girls want to play Test cricket, albeit a one-off game. However, the ICC doesn’t seem too interested in supporting women’s Test cricket, she believes, as it doesn’t attract big money from broadcasters and sponsors.
“The England tour is definitely exciting. Our players have done well in England, and won the last Test match that they played there in 2014. England is a happy hunting ground for the women.
“All players would love to play Test cricket even if it means one Test. Test matches are a real test of skills. At this stage England, Australia and India seem to be keen on playing Test cricket. Although a lot of players, even from the other countries, have shown keen interest in playing Test matches. We have to see how it goes from here on.
“From what I know, the ICC is focusing on the ODI and T20 format because that seems the best way to popularise and promote the game throughout the world. There is a debate around women’s Test cricket considering the interests and benefits to various stakeholders – the Boards, broadcasters, spectators, sponsors, etc,” the 61-year-old opines.