11:32 AM ET
Days after BCCI put out an advertisement to hire a new head coach for the Indian women's team, Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana, two of India's senior-most players, have strongly urged the board to stick with Ramesh Powar, who had coached the side till November 30.
In an e-mail sent on Monday to the BCCI, Harmanpreet and Mandhana, the captain and vice-captain of the T20I team, have said that Powar had a positive impact on the team ever since he was appointed as the interim head coach in July, and that he should carry on till the 2020 World Cup.
Powar's contract was until November 30, but the BCCI decided not to give the year-long extension which was contingent on a positive appraisal. Instead, the BCCI opted to advertise for the head coach position, with interviews scheduled for December 20.
Harmanpreet and Mandhana marked the e-mail to the two-member committee of administrators (CoA), Rahul Johri (BCCI CEO), Saba Karim (head of women's cricket) and the three BCCI office bearers. Both players were unavailable for comments so it could not be ascertained what exactly prompted them to send out the e-mail.
However, ESPNcricinfo understands that the players wanted to let the BCCI top brass know about Powar's impact on the team, despite him getting embroiled in the controversy related to the omission of Mithali Raj from the semi-final of the World T20. Raj had accused Powar of trying to "destroy" her career, and Powar responded to that saying Raj had threatened to retire if she was not allowed to open in the World T20.
After India lost to England in the semi-final, Harmanpreet said it was a collective decision to leave Raj out. ESPNcricinfo understands that both Harmanpreet and Mandhana have reiterated that point in the letter, saying all decisions about the playing XI for the World T20 matches were unanimous and were always taken in the interest of the team. They also pointed out that the final XI was agreed upon by the captain, vice-captain, coach and selector on tour.
It is understood that Harmanpreet and Mandhana have also pointed out to the BCCI that with India's next international assignment - a bilateral tour of New Zealand - and the World Cup in 15 months, India could not afford to change the coach. Incidentally, Powar had replaced Tushar Arothe, who had controversially resigned in July following a fallout with some of the high-profile regulars in the team.