Women’s T20 Challenge: Know your coaches

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Season three of the Women’s T20 Challenge is all set to begin in the first week of November in the United Arab Emirates. All the three squads – Harmanpreet Kaur-led Supernovas, Smriti Mandhana-led Trailblazers, Mithali Raj-led Velocity – have arrived for the four-match tournament to be played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Quarantine periods have been served; the 15-member squads have started training alongside the support staff as they work towards the big event commencing on November 4.

Women’s CricZone takes a look at the head coaches of respective teams, who are working tirelessly behind the scenes, ahead of the tournament.

Mamatha Maben (Supernovas)  

Mamatha Maben (r) with Reema Malhotra © Women’s CricZone

Former India international Mamatha Maben is the most prolific name among the three coaches. Believed to be among one of the most tactically astute leaders of the game, Maben played four tests and 40 ODIs for India between 1993 and 2004. She captained India in one Test and 19 ODIs. Her 6 for 10 against Sri Lanka during the 2004 Asia Cup still is the best bowling figures by an Indian in ODIs.

A batting allrounder from Karnataka, Maben played cricket for 22 seasons starting in 1987. The former captain is currently coaching the state senior side and led them to the final of the 2018-19 Senior Women’s T20 League. She has plenty of coaching experience to her credit having had stints with China and Bangladesh. She worked as the head coaches of both the countries, before having one more stint with the Bangladesh side as a technical advisor. Before taking up the Karnataka job, she served as the coach of the Rajasthan side.

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49-year-old Maben also coached the India B side in the 2019-20 Senior Women’s T20 Challenger Trophy. She is not new to the Women’s T20 Challenge having coached Velocity in the 2019 edition. She will be hoping to get Supernovas’ three-peat quest off to a good start when they take the field for their first match against Velocity on the opening day.

Nandita Adhiya (Trailblazers)

Nandita Adhiya (l) with Jincy George © Nandita Adhiya/Facebook

Nandita Adhiya, a former seam-bowling allrounder from Gujarat, has been named as the head coach of Trailblazers. She started her cricketing career with Gujarat at the age-group level and went on to represent them at the Under-19 and senior level between 1996-1998. She played for the Mumbai senior team from 1999 to 2002 while also making it to the West Zone outfit during the same period. In 2006, she joined the Saurashtra senior side and also captained them. She was part of the Saurashtra squad that played tour matches against Bangladesh in 2011.

Adhiya, a BCCI Level 2 accredited coach, had various stints with Under-19, Under-23, and Senior teams in domestic cricket starting from 2009 at the state level and inter-zonal tournament. She also worked with age-group and A squads at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in various capacities. She is currently the head coach of Saurashtra.

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Earlier this year, 42-year-old Adhiya was at the helm when India C won the title in the T20 Challenger Trophy in January where she helped the Veda Krishnamurthy-led side defeat much-fancied India B in the final. She will have her first experience of the Women’s T20 Challenge when Trailblazers take on Velocity in their opening fixture on November 5.

Suman Sharma (Velocity)

Suman Sharma (l) with Shafali Verma © Suman Sharma/Facebook

Former Delhi cricketer Suman Sharma has been given the reigns of Velocity for the Women’s T20 Challenge. She is a BCCI level 2 accredited coach and also has a level 2 certification with the Asian Cricket Council (ACC). Her famous coaching stint came with the Indian national side when she was appointed as the fielding coach ahead of the 2016 home series against West Indies and served in the position until 2017.

Sharma has plenty of coaching experience under her belt having worked at the age-group levels, NCA, and at the Senior level. She is back at the helm of the Kerala side in domestic cricket from 2017, having had an earlier stint from 2013 to 2015. Under her, Kerala won the Women’s Under-23 T20 League in the 2017-18 season defeating Maharashtra in the final by five wickets.

Sharma also worked closely with India A in recent times. In 2019, she traveled with the side as an assistant coach to Sri Lanka where they won the inaugural ACC Women’s Emerging Teams Asia Cup. She was also part of the support staff during the A-team’s tour to Australia in the same year. She then coached India A in the 2020 T20 Challenger Trophy in Cuttack before leading one of the Indian sides in the Quadrangular Trophy featuring Bangladesh and Thailand at home ahead of the T20 World Cup. She will be hoping to take Velocity, runners-up from the 2019 edition, one step further when they begin their campaign against the defending champions Supernovas on the first day.

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