Kirsten, Gibbs and Powar in the fray for India Women head coach role

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Former South Africa openers Gary Kirsten and Herschelle Gibbs are among high-profile names who will be interviewed for the role of India’s national coach for the senior women’s team by a three-member ad-hock panel in Mumbai on Thursday (December 20). The panel includes former India cricketers Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy.

gibs powar kristan

Dev, along with the rest of the panel members arrived in Mumbai on Wednesday for the process that is scheduled to begin early Thursday and will be conducted via Skype.

The entire selection process is mired in controversy at the moment as Diana Edulji – one of the two remaining member of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) insists that the ad hoc panel is not legal and interim coach Ramesh Powar needs to be continued with.

Edulji’s colleague Vinod Rai – the other member of the CoA and the chairman of the committee – says the interview process will go on as planned and his word “is final”.

Powar, who was India’s interim coach during the last three months and travelled with the Indian women’s team to the Caribbean for the recently-concluded World T20, is also part of a 11-member shortlist of candidates. TOI understands that India’s World Cup-winning coach with the men’s team Gary Kirsten, his former South African teammate Herschelle Gibbs, Australian Brad Hogg, former England cricketer Dimitri Mascarenhas, former Irish cricketer Trent Johnson have also thrown their hats in the ring for the top job.

The Indian candidates in the race, other than Powar, include former opener and long-time coach in the domestic circuit WV Raman, ex-India pacer and one-time chief junior selector Venkatesh Prasad, former all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar and former woman cricketer-turned coach Kalpana Venkatachar.

While Kirsten remains the most accomplished of all applicants, given his success with the Indian men’s team in winning the 2011 ICC World Cup, all the other candidates will collectively make the ad-hoc panel’s job a challenging one. This, at a time, when Edulji argues that Powar is the choice of India’s T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur and should therefore continue. Interestingly, Edulji – a former India women cricketer herself – has had nothing to say on India’s one-day captain Mithali Raj’s choice for the role of coach.

In what has been a very public outburst between Edulji and Rai – one that has led to immense controversy and has left the BCCI’s old guard amused – the former has maintained that the ad-hock panel appointed to conduct interviews and pick the selector is not under the guidelines of the SC order.