‘We may just be closer to women’s IPL’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 27 Jul 2017 09:40:26



IT WASN’T much of a possibility a couple of years back but India captain Mithali Raj said a women’s Indian Premier League is closer to reality after her team’s brilliant World Cup campaign.

Asked if she expects a women’s IPL soon, Mithali said: “If you had asked me this question, a couple of years back, probably I would not (support the idea to have women’s IPL), but (may be) now since after going to the World Cup and the way they have responded and improved the standard of women’s cricket, taking it to different level.”
For a women’s IPL, the general standard of the game needs to be good and Mithali feels that it has happened as the statistics of this World Cup suggests.

“Scoring more than 300 plus, every team has got a centurion and a five-wicket haul bowler, so it is probably because of the leagues in Australia and England and may be a couple of players have improved their standard and they have performed very well for the country,” she said.
Mithali feels that an IPL will also help the domestic players improve their standard.

“We now have a base, it will help even the domestic players in terms of exposure, but again it is up to the BCCI to organise the league. As a player, I feel now the domestic players are exposed to good cricketing environment and interact with foreign players, they will benefit,” Mithali stated.

She is proud that her team has now got global acceptance. “This was a moment when a team sport apart from men’s cricket garnered so much attention because it’s individual sport always gets that mileage. “In team games, irrespective of having 2-3 good players, if the team does not do well, you do not get that attention, but it feels nice because we play cricket and it is like a religion in India,” she said when asked if it’s a watershed moment in women’s game.

But the bunch of 15 women fully deserves it, feels the captain.
“They always deserved it. Now because of broadcasting and televising of the game, it is more, coming under BCCI has made a difference. I always believed if more matches are televised, we can attract more people,” said Raj, who became the leading run-scorer in women’s One-Day Internationals, during the event.

“The way the girls have played, Indian and other teams have put up good standard of cricket in World Cup and it has given impetus to women cricket globally, it has given us more positive feedback,” she added.
The skipper lauded BCCI for bringing a structure in women’s cricket.

“Since two-three years, we have got days game in the domestic structure, BCCI has made an effort to get under-16 level, that is the basic level where the girls can get into to play the higher level. I have myself played U-16s, U-19s a lot, they are coming with U-23 as well.”
Harmanpreet reveals secret of hitting sixes
AGGRESSION comes naturally to Harmanpreet Kaur and she attributes her six-hitting prowess to playing with men in the formative days of her career.

Harmanpreet’s 171 against Australia in the World Cup semi-final made her an overnight sensation and many started comparing the 28-year-old to the legendary Kapil Dev.
The batting star said the memorable innings was not any different to her usual style of play as she likes to play aggressive brand of cricket since childhood.

“I like to bat in that way since childhood, I have learnt to play that way and played cricket with boys, who used to hit sixes and I liked hitting sixes.
“In the final (that India lost to England), we needed runs and I was going for runs, I played the shot thinking it will be fully covered, but it went into the fielder’s hand.”

We can see a new road for women’s cricket: Jhulan
VETERAN India pacer Jhulan Goswami feels that the memorable campaign by her side in the recent World Cup will lead to a new road for women’s cricket in the country. Jhulan and her team-mates returned home to a warm reception here and they recalled their experiences of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in England, where they ended as runners-up, creating waves in the country.

“There is pressure when we play international cricket. This is a second time . After 12 years, the matches were televised and all saw them. It is the best thing for women’s cricket,” Jhulan said.
“The way ICC conducted this World Cup and promoted women’s cricket. A new road will be there for women’s cricket and all will play an important role,” said 34-year-old Jhulan.
Jhulan, the most experienced bowler for India, also praised seamers Mansi Joshi and Shikha Pandey, terming them as match winners.

“Mansi did not get chances in this tournament. She has the spark and swings the balls well. She must improve her fitness level and can carry the legacy. Both she and Shikha are good bowlers and hopefully we will get good fast bowlers,” said Jhulan, the highest wicket-taker in the women’s game.

Mumbai girl Poonam Raut, who made a valiant 86 in the summit clash against England, albeit for a losing cause, said she had prepared well for the tournament.
“There was pressure, we had made a lot of preparation. I was practising the last two years, how to open, how to play in the power play. In England, the wickets are different and ball swings, and then rains.

“We have to play in that conditions which were different from India. Our preparation was done accordingly. We went 10-12 days in advance, and that helped us to acclimatise to the conditions,” the opener told reporters.
Poonam, who made descent contributions in the entire tournament, said she was overwhelmed by the reception on their arrival.

“Yes, we felt good, the rousing reception was not expected. The way our team has played, we deserved it,” she added.
Deepti Sharma, who bowls off-spin, said she executed her role to perfection.
“I knew that what was my role, so was doing accordingly. I needed to work on dot balls and I just did that. In batting, I had to work on partnerships and rotate strike and I did that,” she said.

Batswoman Smriti Mandana, who hails from Sangli in Western Maharashtra, said playing the final at Lord’s was a dream come true.
“As a kid, you always dream of playing at the Lord’s and unfortunately in 2014 we missed playing at Lord’s as the match was washed out. I remember Mithali telling me that the 2017 World Cup final is at the same ground, and if we do well we will playing. That happened and it was a dream come true,” said Smriti.