Former chief selector Hemlata Kala is among five female candidates who have applied for the post of Indian women’s cricket team’s head coach.

Mamatha Maben, Jaya Sharma, Suman Sharma and Nooshin Al Khadeer are the others who have presented their candidature for the job. Purnima Rau was the last female head coach of the Indian team until she was removed in April 2017.

Incumbent WV Raman has also reapplied after his term ended with the home series loss to South Africa in March. Former coaches of the team, Ramesh Powar and Tushar Arothe, have also thrown their hat into the ring.

The Madan Lal-led Cricket Advisory Committee is supposed to pick the head coach after the application deadline ended on April 26.

The women’s selection committee, headed by Neetu David, are reportedly inclined towards a female head coach for the national team, which has a lot of work to do before the ODI World Cup in New Zealand early next year.

“We are yet to hear from the BCCI on the interview date (of candidates). When we get down to that, we will pick the best person for the job whether male or female,” World Cup-winner Lal told PTI.

The position has been held by men since 2017.

Arothe took over from Rau and was in charge when Mithali Raj and Co reached the ODI World Cup final later that year. Powar replaced him before making an exit in controversial circumstances when veteran Mithali Raj accused him of trying to destroy her career.

Raman took over from Powar and has overseen the team since, taking them to the T20 World Cup final in 2020.

Among the female candidates, Kala was chief of the last selection committee and recently worked with the UP senior team as head coach.

Suman has worked as an assistant coach with the Indian team and was also involved with the Women’s T20 Challenge alongside Maben who has also coached Bangladesh and China. Nooshin also has a substantial coaching experience.

“I have been tracking women’s cricket in the country since my playing days. Coaching Railways and now UP has also helped me learn a lot more about the game.

“I also gained a lot of knowledge during my tenure as selector and therefore I feel ready to step into the head coach role,” said former India international Kala.

With PTI Inputs