“It doesn’t feel like a new team or anything,” says Smriti Mandhana about Sydney Thunder

While BCCI announced that two new teams were going to be a part of the IPL in the upcoming season, adding to their previous 8, the women proceed to enduringly wait for the formation of their first.

Smriti Mandhana for Sydney Thunders in WBBL 2021. PC: Twitter
Smriti Mandhana for Sydney Thunders in WBBL 2021. PC: smritimandhana.fanclub/Instagram

 

While many nations have done a remarkable job in producing equal opportunities for their male and female athletes, this continues to be a dream for Indian women who are the only ones that truly acknowledge the vast gap between state and national cricket in India for women. So, under these conditions how do the girls prepare for the T20 world cup scheduled to be played next year?

“We have a World Cup coming up and we don’t have a BBL in our country, so it will be of benefit and a lot of experience for the eight girls in the comp and that experience will definitely count when we are back playing for India.”, Mandhana was quoted saying to smh.com.au.

We can establish from Mandhana’s statement that the lack of such a league in India is one of the factors limiting the uprise of Indian women’s cricket however, being a part of this Australian competition is providing at least some if not all of them the stage they need to establish themselves as professionals.

Mandhana, or as her BBL mates call her-Mandy, has scored 420 runs in 25 innings at a modest strike rate of 128.83 and will be playing alongside 7 of her teammates-the commendable Deepti Sharma, destructive Shafali Verma, reliable left-arm bowler Radha Yadav, energetic Jemimah Rodrigues, skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, young wicket-keeper Richa Ghosh, and magical leg-spinner Poonam Yadav in this year’s WBBL. These inclusions garnered plenty of support, especially from India as finally, their fans don’t have to wait for an international series to catch them in action.

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The inclusion of more t20 stars, for instance, Shafali Verma appeals to the younger generation who have been more intrigued by the shorter format of the game lately. In addition, it is an exceptional experience for players themselves as the 17-year-old prodigy says, “When you come to a foreign league, we always something just learn from every series or every league. It’s a very good opportunity for me to come in and play with these girls.”

In conclusion, despite India’s backlogs, the Indian women feel that being invited to the WBBL and other tournaments such as ‘The Hundred’ gives them a solid stage to perform and prove their worth internationally, while helping them prepare for their national duties. Likewise, despite intense rivalry during international matches, such leagues have always produced the best hospitality and heart-warming gestures that players make for their counterparts from distinctive parts of the world.

Credits : Sarah Keoghan, smh.com.au

Student, Athlete, and Cricket Enthusiast.

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