Mithali Raj, Ramesh Powar on same page, call Shefali Varma “special talent”

Ind W vs Eng W: Head Coach Ramesh Powar backs returning Shafali Varma for England tour
Ind W vs Eng W: Head Coach Ramesh Powar backs returning Shafali Varma for England tour

Mithali Raj, Ramesh Powar on same page, call Shefali Varma “special talent” – India women’s team head coach Ramesh Powar on Tuesday said that he had buried the hatchet with skipper Mithali Raj in their bid to move on from a very public fall-out in 2018, with the common goal of taking the team to greater heights.

The former India off-spinner was back at the helm after being removed in 2018 when India lost their T20 World Cup semi-final against England in the West Indies and the acrimony between the coach and captain came to the fore.

After Mithali in an exclusive interview to PTI had spoken about “moving on”, it was Powar’s turn to sing from the same hymn sheet.

“I would like to stop the speculation (on) what is happening. We interacted well, otherwise I wouldn’t have come into the women’s cricket,’ Powar said on the eve of their team’s departure for a month-long tour of the United Kingdom.

“There are larger goals, bigger picture, a responsibility and an opportunity,” Powar tried to put things in perspective.

The coach is confident that with resumption of women’s Test cricket for India, it is an incredible opportunity for this bunch of players to take the game forward.

“This is a great opportunity for me, Mithali, for the whole group, to take women’s cricket to another level, where the BCCI is supporting us.”

Powar believes that difference of opinion from three years back will not make him or the skipper waver from their goal of winning games of cricket for India.

“I don’t think we are going to go back on small things where we are professional enough to move on and everyone should move on. …and I think you all know me, I have been with NCA, I have been with Rahul Dravid, so you know (how) Rahul disciplined is (before) a series,” added the 43-year-old Powar, who played 2 Tests and 31 ODIs for India, mostly under Dravid.

Sitting by her coach’s side, Mithali repeated what she had told PTI a couple of days back.

“Can we move on from that? Because it has been three years, we are in 2021, we should be looking forward to many more series and if we need to get behind the past,” the skipper wasn’t one bit amused as that’s one question that she has often faced in the past few weeks.

Powar, who has the experience of coaching teams like Mumbai and in the NCA, came back as the head coach of the women’s team, after a brief stint in 2018, which did not end on a good note.

India will play one Test and along with three WODIS and WT20Is each.

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Mithali Raj, Ramesh Powar on same page, call Shefali Varma “special talent”

Powar on Tuesday also labelled teen sensation Shafali Verma as a “special talent”. For the first time in her career, Shafali has been called up into the ODI and Test squad and she is set to stage on fire in the upcoming multi-format series against England.

“I think every player on this squad makes a difference. Shafali is a special talent, we are trying to get every combination which will help us to get to a total which is a standard, in fact we want to pass that, we want to supersede that. We are not aiming for any A or B target, we are trying to assess the targets, somewhere it might be 270, in India, it can be 200 only, we will explore combinations which will help us win consistently,” said Powar while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference.

Further asked how he would like to coach youngsters like Shafali, Powar said: “It depends on the way she handles the practice sessions. We have done something great with Prithvi Shaw when we played the Vijay Hazare Trophy. We have to wait and watch.”

Then both teams will lock horns in three ODIs beginning June 27 with the matches slated to be played at Bristol, Taunton, and Worcester. They will then square off in three T20Is, beginning July 9 and the three matches will be played at Northampton, Hove, and Chelmsford.

“I just want the women’s team to get better in their game. I just want them to look for excellence, the glory will find them,” said Powar.

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