Tushar Arothe has resigned as the coach of the India team. ©Twitter

With only 4 months left before the start of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in the West Indies, India team’s head coach, Tushar Arothe has stepped down from his position. His resignation comes after speculations of discord between the team and the coach, following India’s first-ever defeat in the Asia Cup final, where they lost to Bangladesh.

Arothe has cited “personal reasons” as the main reason for handing in his resignation; however, according to reports in ESPNcricinfo, he has also revealed having tense relations with some of the members of the national team, who he said needed to step out of their “comfort zone” for a better future of Indian women’s cricket.

Immediately after India’s three-wicket loss to Bangladesh in the finals of the Asia Cup, reports of conflict between Arothe and some of the players began swirling and soon after that, Arothe has handed in his resignation.

These suspicions gained further momentum after Arothe met BCCI officials including Diana Edulji, the former Indian women’s captain, who is also a member of the Committee of Administration (CoA), last week. The BCCI accepted Arothe’s resignation, which he submitted on Monday evening.

Arothe’s tenure as head coach ends at the same time as the completion of two skills-specific camps he had been supervising at the National Cricket Academy in Bangaluru since June 30. Before returning to his hometown, Baroda, Arothe complimented his support staff saying “he had one of the best support staff to work with.” He also expressed his wish that the players showed “more intent” to take on challenges to “move to the next level.”

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Arothe said, “I have no grudge, no ill-will against any player, and I wish them all the best for the forthcoming tours and the World T20 in November.” He further added, “I’ll say I had one of the best support staff to work with. But I hope the team learns that to achieve bigger things, to move to the next level, one needs to come out of their comfort zone. And I wish to see more honesty and more intent from the players to do that.”

Arothe, who was a batting all-rounder and Ranji Trophy winner for Baroda, took over the reins as head coach in April 2017, after the removal of Purnima Rau, two months before the World Cup in England. Given the fact that he had been part of India women’s coaching staff previously, between 2008 and 2012, Arothe was, at first, appointed until the 2017 World Cup.

Under Arothe, India had their breakout run in the tournament, finishing as the runner’s up. This achievement earned him a two-year extension. Along with him, fielding coach Biju George and physiotherapist Tracy Fernandes were offered a two-year contract. Trupti Bhattacharya was named the team manager for a one-year period as well.

During India’s six-month break from international cricket after the World Cup final at Lord’s, Arothe supervised several camps at the NCA, in which India regulars and fringe players participated. The responsibility of recruiting players for India A to play against Australia and England in March, was also bestowed upon Arothe and George.

The relation between the team and coach seemed to be quite strong up till India’s tour of South Africa in February. This was India’s first tour since the World Cup and they managed to win both limited-overs series’ against the hosts’. However, disappointing campaigns on home soil against Australia and in aT20 tri-series featuring Australia and England may have contributed to a rise in tension between Arothe and some of the more high-profile players.  The Asia Cup loss may have heightened some ill-feelings.

One of the understood reasons behind the alleged strained relationship was Arothe’s training regime. Two mandatory sessions of two-and-a-half hours each in the morning and late afternoon, and an optional afternoon session were proposed by Arothe, and the team had been following them since last year. The players, however, argued that one long session a day should be followed so that the players accommodate a gym session and an optional training session if need be. The player’s point of view had been politely been conveyed to Arothe ahead of the Asia Cup.

Another matter of disagreement between Arothe and the BCCI and CoA during their meetings could have been that 17-year-old rising talent Jemimah Rodrigues, who was left out of the playing XI in the Asia Cup.

With India’s tour of Sri Lanka coming up in September and the T20 World Cup immediately following that, it will be interesting to see how a change in the coaching staff affects the team and its performance.

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