Atul Bedade suspended as Baroda coach following allegations of sexual harassment

Women's CricZone Staff
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Atul Bedade, head coach of Baroda women’s senior team, has been suspended by Baroda Cricket Association indefinitely following allegations of sexual harassment and public shaming.

The decision to suspend the former India batter after the team’s return from Una, Himachal Pradesh where Baroda played their senior one-day inter-state matches came after several senior players and their families complained to the association. Sportstar reported that one of the senior players who suffered a nervous breakdown is undergoing treatment in Hyderabad.

“One of the senior team players had a nervous breakdown during the tournament and she had to be flown back home. Last week, we heard another parent complaining against (the head coach) for public shaming,” BCA secretary Ajit Lele told Sportstar.

The allegations have forced BCA to start an internal inquiry that will include a four member panel – Priyanka Verma (senior HR manager of BCA), Shishir Hattangadi (CEO), Lele and Parag Patel (both secretaries) – and the stakeholders. Bedade will have to depose before the committee, and has therefore been suspended with immediate effect pending final inquiry.

“We will form a neutral committee, which will look into the matter and based on its findings, a final decision will be taken,” Lele said.

In a letter issued to the coach on Saturday (March 21), the BCA made clear that he was suspended under the policy of sexual harassment and public shaming. This includes, “personal comments on physicality to personal menstruation; comments that discourage the morals of the team members; angry outbursts unbecoming of a women’s team coach and using unparliamentary language that is not accepted of a person-in-charge; behaviour oblivious of gender sensitivity.”

Bedade, who took over as head coach of the women’s team last year, claimed to have been surprised by the letter and refused to comment.