Even before conducting his first training session with the players, WV Raman finds himself under a cloud. The darkness that must undermine his status and authority as coach of the women’s cricket team being a creation of the petty power struggle within the court-appointed jesters masquerading as a Committee of Administrators, who appear oblivious of the responsibilities they are expected to shoulder.

Having reduced the COA to a contemporary equivalent of Laurel and Hardy, they have allowed their internal rift to rupture an already divided group of players. Both Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji have, not for the first time, proved themselves unworthy of the powers with which they have been dubiously invested.

And both are too pique-propelled to have the moral courage to step down and “force” a new administrative set-up that the women cricketers so clearly merit. When it came to a Kohli-Shastri issue the COA put its tail between its legs and ran, alas Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur & Co are deemed children of a lesser God by a “committee” that is hardly answerable to anyone.

Having over-stepped its authority in appointing the COA, the apex court now appears to be ducking its duty to supervise its creation. A gender- issue is at the root of the Edulji-Rai spat ~ that bias is magnified by the different manner in which they have handled pinpricks in the men and women’s games.

The reputation of others is of trivial consequence to the COA. Great disservice has been done to Shantha Rangaswamy, Kapil Dev and Anshuman Gaekwad by tarnishing images won on-field by being sullied by involvement in “selecting” a new coach to replace a controversial Ramesh Powar.

The present questioning of their appointment, threats of legal action etc. serve to explain why many leading players recoil at suggestions they enter the administration arena. Raman has been demeaned by it becoming public knowledge that he was not the top choice of the “selection” panel.

Gary Kirsten might not say so openly but he must feel insulted that after forwarding his name to the panel the COA/BCCI “discovered” a conflict-of-interest situation that denied him the job ~ only a court-appointed COA could see a “conflict” between handling the women’s squad and the men turning out for the Royal Challengers in the IPL. Again, it is the women who have lost out: Kirsten had delivered the World Cup to the men, perhaps he might have repeated that success when straddling the gender divide.

Diana Edulji has called the choice of a coach a “sham” ~ hardly ensuring a fair shake for the person entrusted with the job. More likely the real sham is the arrogant belief that all problems can be sorted out by diktats from lofty benches. Their Lordships wave magic wands ~ never dirty their hands having their decisions translated into reality.