Royal Challengers Bangalore

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), an Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, on Thursday, became the first team in the tournament to hire a woman in the support staff.

The Virat Kohli-led team appointed Navnita Gautam as their sports massage therapist.

Navnita will be working with head physiotherapist Evan Speechly and strength and conditioning coach Basu Shanker, who was with the men’s cricket team until recently. She will also be responsible for the preparation, motivation, overall supervision, and treating all individual physical ailments relating to the RCB team.

“Navnita Gautam joins us as a sports massage therapist for the 13th edition of IPL. She will work to identify and implement massage therapy to help the team prepare and recover better. We are proud to be the first IPL team to have a woman support staff member,” RCB tweeted.

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“I am very pleased to be a part of this moment in history and another step in the right direction. The game has come a long way, in many ways, in terms of the Women’s Cricket Team and how many people are watching it, the interest was long due,” Chairman of RCB, Sanjeev Churiwala, said in his statement.

“Sport is a great enabler, but it is important to ensure that the principles of equity in participation also extends to its staffing bodies. Increasing participation and success by women in all sporting arenas have made this possible, and we at RCB are very thrilled to have found great talent in Navnita,” he added.

In August, RCB roped in Mike Hesson as their Director of Cricket Operations and Simon Katich as the new Head Coach.

RCB, despite having had players like Chris Gayle, Yuvraj Singh, and Dale Steyn in their ranks over the years, are yet to win an IPL title.