Former Indian cricketer Snehal Pradhan feels that lack of transparency and accountability on the part of the BCCI is hurting Women’s cricket, and believes that it’s time that fans demand more from those in charge of matters. Among other things, Pradhan was critical of the selection process.
It was only 14 months ago that the Indian Women’s team played in the final of the World T20 but that particular day, currently, feels like it never happened. Women’s cricket in the country has been marred with controversy and the removal of WV Raman as head coach has led to leaks that have made people question the integrity and motivation of those running the sport in the country.
The process of squad selection, the behaviour of senior members in the squad and the BCCI’s administration have all come under the scanner and the issues have brought to light the sorrow state of Women’s cricket in the country, which is currently in limbo.
Former Indian cricketer Snehal Pradhan, who’s played 10 international games, believes that it’s time for Women’s cricket in the country to be cleansed and feels that the same can be done by making processes transparent, and holding people accountable. Pradhan feels that, currently, there is no transparency and accountability on the part of those running the sport in the country and believes that it’s high time that the fans start demanding for the same.
“I am at heart, a player. I am hardwired to examine processes, not results. So I’m here to talk about a few processes. Let’s start with the most recent one, the process for selecting the coach of the Indian team, a team that will be playing a World Cup in 10 months. What do we really know about it? Precious little,” Pradhan wrote in her column for Hindustan Times.
“The official communication from the Board tells us how many candidates there were, Powar’s record, and how the Cricket Advisory Committee was unanimous. But it tells us nothing about why one candidate was preferred over another, or how this selection fits into the larger vision for the Indian team, how it ties into the World Cup dream. And since there was no press conference, no one got a chance to ask.
“Let’s look at another process. The process by which the Indian team is selected. We know there are five selectors, one from each zone, who pick the team. With every selection, there are plenty of questions, but no one to answer them. No MSK Prasad-like figure to share reasoning. Were players dropped or rested? Were the coach and captains consulted? We don’t know, and apparently, we don’t need to know.
“How about a third process? The one where annually contracted players are picked, which is supposed to happen -as the word annually suggests- every year. Except women’s contracts for the period beginning October 2020 onward have not been announced (the men’s contracts list came out in April). And when contracts are announced, precedent suggests there will not be any press conferences explaining decisions.”
Indian women’s cricket is currently blessed with a plethora of world-class talents - some, like Shafali, generational - but Pradhan strongly believes that it’s ‘systems’ and ‘processes’ that help teams achieve and sustain success at the highest level. The 35-year-old asserted that the fans should start demanding for transparency and insisted that being vocal about things will be the first step in uplifting women’s cricket in the country.
“Individuals don’t win you World Cups. Coaches don’t. Players don’t. Systems do. Good processes do. We are happy to acknowledge the system that gave India’s men success in Australia. But when it comes to women’s cricket, we are distracted by the drama. When we focus on leaks, we miss the big picture: What this ship needs is structures.
“Here’s another thing I learned as a player: Control the controllables, and that’s also what I’m here to talk about. What can we do? Don’t wait for drip-fed information. Ask for transformation. Ask for press conferences for every team announcement, an under-16 national tournament, and a long term plan for a women’s IPL. Ask for stability of squads ---playing and support staff--- and a long-term vision to make India the best team in the world.
“If we fans want a better product, a better team, we have to ask for accountability and infrastructure first. Women’s cricket’s fan base is growing, but powerful. Don’t wait to be told things that matter little. Use your own voice to ask for the things that matter a lot.”