Cricket: Indian women team’s selection panel, CAC under scanner after WV Raman’s ouster

WV Raman’s unceremonious ouster from the Indian women’s team head coach’s position has put both the Madan Lal-headed Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) and Neetu David-led selection panel under the scanner of the BCCI bigwigs.

The CAC on Thursday removed Raman, who took the women’s team to T20 World Cup final in Australia, and reinstated Ramesh Powar, who was removed from the same post in 2018.

Is CAC illegal?

“Maddi paaji (Madan Lal) celebrated his 70th birthday on March 20, 2021. The BCCI, in its appeal to Supreme Court against some of the reforms, doesn’t ask for roll-back of age-cap of 70 years. So, how come Lal was allowed to sit in CAC meeting?,” a senior BCCI member asked.

While the BCCI has no intention of using its veto to overrule the CAC’s decision, the board’s top officials are unable to wrap their heads around as to what led to recommendation of Raman’s removal.

Naik’s role

Former India player Sulakshana Naik is the younger sister of Mumbai Cricket Association secretary Sanjay Naik. She has so far attended three CAC meetings for various appointments.

Someone who is abreast with how the interviews were conducted said that it felt as if Naik had made up her mind to remove Raman for just one bad series, despite knowing well that selection wasn’t in his hands and it was done by her ex-teammate, Neetu David’s panel. “One surprising question that Raman was asked was how can he claim credit for women’s team reaching T20 World Cup Final as this is a team that was prepared by Ramesh Powar,” the source said.

The line of questioning, according to the official, was clear that the platform was set for Powar to be reinstated.

“If you go by the argument Sulakshana gave, by that logic, Ramesh is inheriting a team that Raman prepared,” he countered.

Raman-David fall-out?

Multiple sources have confirmed that Raman had red-flagged the kind of squad that David, Arati Vaidya, Renu Margrate, Mithu Mukherjee and V Kalpana picked for the South Africa series, for which teen batting sensation Shafali Verma was not picked for the ODIs and senior pacer Shikha Pandey was inexplicably dropped.

Both David and Raman couldn’t be contacted for corroboration. It is understood that the BCCI nowadays records all selection meetings.

“Do you know what kind of logic was given for dropping Shikha and Shafali? It is beyond comprehension,” a senior official said.

The selectors said that Pandey was unfit and “overweight”. “But when they were asked to prove their point, they couldn’t simply do it,” the official alleged.

In the case of Shafali, her fielding was questioned and put forth as the reason for her non-selection in the ODI team. “If Raman had a counter-question that if Shafali’s fielding is a problem for 50-over cricket, then it is bigger problem in T20 format where it is more important. Then how is she being selected in T20 format,” the official asked.

The selection of leg-spinner C Prathyusha and left arm seamer Monica Patel has also been questioned as they didn’t look ready for the rigours of international cricket.

“How did Monica get selected over Shikha Pandey?” is a question that is being asked.

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