Why are 8 Indians Picked in Women’s Big Bash League 2021 season?

The seventh season of Women’s Big Bash League commences next week from 14th October. Rising Covid-19 cases in some parts of Australia led to uncertainty of the tournament with players pulling back due to fear of border closure. However, after lots of ins and outs, the 8 participating teams are finally ready with their 15-member squad. A total of 22 overseas players have been signed which includes 8 from India, 6 from South Africa, 4 from England, 2 from New Zealand, and 1 each from Ireland and Sri Lanka.


Indian Pair Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma joins Sydney Thunder for WBBL
Indian Pair Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma joins Sydney Thunder for WBBL


Though getting overseas players for the game was the toughest job, what acted as a big boost was India’s presence in the country. India is currently playing a multi-format series with Australia which ends tomorrow, 10th October with the final T20I. In fact, it isn’t just the presence of the team there, the way the women in blue have played against the most successful team of Women’s cricket has been appreciated by many. They have given a tough fight in every match bringing everyone to the edge of their seat. Be it the ODIs where the second match went on to be the last ball decider which though Australia won but it was all because of the last ball given as a no-ball and some missed chances by the team. However, India successfully broke Australia’s 26 ODI winning streak in the last of the three ODIs. This was followed by the team’s exceptional performance in their first-ever pink ball match which unluckily ended in a draw after a major part being dominated by the rain. Their fantastic performance has managed to impress WBBL teams management, and five teams have signed Indian players to fill their overseas slots.

India’s T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur and the second leading run-scorer in the inaugural edition of The Hundred, Jemimah Rodrigues have been signed by Melbourne Renegades. The youngster and ICC T20I top-ranked batter, Shafali Verma was signed by Sydney Sixers along with bowler Radha Yadav. Opener Smriti Mandhana, the one who became India’s first woman to score a century in the Pink Ball Test, and her teammate all-rounder Deepti Sharma are signed by Sydney Thunder. The next Indian signing is the team’s wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh who batted well during the ODIs played in the latter half last month. She is signed by Hobart Hurricanes. The eighth and the last overseas player is bowler Poonam Yadav who is signed by Brisbane Heat.

Jemimah Rodrigues who played a wonderful knock in the first T20I a couple of days before, scoring 49 not out in the match which was abandoned due to rain, has been pointing out the need to have a full-fledged women’s IPL just like India has for the men’s team for quite some time now. In her opinion, playing a T20I league provides an opportunity for the youngsters to adjust to the game and for experienced players, to further improve their performance. Thus, she has commented on Indian women being signed for WBBL as a good opportunity to better themselves just like she got during the Hundreds. Another advantage is the players will get familiar with the foreign conditions which would be a great benefit for the team as a whole as well as for the players.

In a report by 7NEWS.com.au, Rodrigues said, “It’s really exciting to see. It is very important playing in these leagues because playing in The Hundred gave me so much confidence, (so) imagine playing in the WBBL. Already eight of the Indians are playing. It’s going to develop women’s cricket and develop our team, in fact, right now. How much of an experience they’ll get, they can share that same experience over there (in India). It’s going to be great. I’m very excited to see how all of us do in the WBBL.”

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