Hyderabad: In a shocking decision, Hyderabad’s Purnima Rau has been unceremoniously removed as coach of the Indian women’s cricket team that will take part in the June 24-July 23 one-day World Cup in England. Former Baroda left-handed batsman Tushar Arothe has replaced Purnima to take charge of the team.
“I don’t know where I have gone wrong. They have again sacked me without any reason. The BCCI did not have the decency to inform me about my removal as coach. I got to know from someone else. It is very insulting,’’ said the 50-year-old coach to Telangana Today on Thursday.
The former Indian all-rounder and captain said she was hurt. “As a player I was victimised and the same thing is being repeated as coach. I was preparing the team and we stood a good chance in the World Cup in England. In fact, I would have quit after the World Cup as I wanted the new coach ready for the T20 World Cup, which is four years from now.’’
Purnima feels the BCCI did not play a fair game with her. “If you look at the recent performances of the Indian team, it was one of the best in recent times. We beat the top teams of the world, including Australia in the T20 series where for the first time, Indian women beat the home team two years ago. Then we won the Asian T20 championship and also the World Cup qualifying tournament in Sri Lanka this year where we emerged champions. Apart from that, we won the series against big teams like New Zealand, Sri Lanka and West Indies, both in T20 and one-dayers. Perhaps, I’m the only successful coach to be shown the door.’’
Purnima said she brought a new belief in the team after the side lost to South Africa and England. “I was made the coach in 2014 in the Lanka series and then I went as a coach to the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh in 2015, after that I was removed. “Sudha Shah took over as coach for the South African and England series. The team didn’t do well and I was brought back against New Zealand and we won the series. We went to Australia and won the T20 series.’’
According to Purnima, the Indian women would have probably been second in the world ranking but for refusing to play against Pakistan. “We had to go to Sri Lanka qualifiers because we didn’t play Pakistan. Had we played Pakistan, we would have probably been second in the world.’’
Purnima squarely blamed Diana Eduljee, one of the members of the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators for the present sacking. “With Diana being there, I expected a fair result as she played a fair amount of the game. She has been vindictive always. I don’t know what is Lodha Committee all about. But it is injustice as far as I’m concerned.
“They have insulted me. There is no explanation and I am out. I have not asked for any contract and I worked with measly amount as coach of the Indian team.’’
Purnima went to say that Eduljee is one of the ugly faces of women’s cricket. “She has never done any good for women’s cricket in the country. She was very vindictive even during her playing days.’’
Although Purnima had a good rapport with Indian team, the senior players like skipper Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur and Julan (Goswami) wanted a male coach. “I gave them freedom to play bold cricket. I was willing to take the responsibility. Today I’m found unwanted.’’