Team India opener Smriti Mandhana feels that now is the right time for the authorities to come up with a women’s T20 league, like IPL. She feels that such a step would help find young and budding talent for the Indian women’s cricket team and build a strong squad, just the way IPL does for the men’s team.
Mandhana captains the Trailblazers, one of the three teams that play the Women’s T20 Challenge that is held every year during the men’s IPL. The women’s challenger trophy witnesses players from all around the world, divided into three teams namely Velocity, Supernovas, and Trailblazers, competing in a short 4 match league.
In a special podcast by Red Bull named Decoding Athletes, hosted by Isa Guha, Indian cricketers Smriti Mandhana, K L Rahul, and England’s Ben Stokes were asked few sporting questions, one of which was the need for a Women’s T20 league in India.
Smriti Mandhana in a recent podcast on Red Bull’s Decoding Athletes series highlighted the importance of #IPL and how it will impact the overall growth of women’s cricket in the country. #SmritiMandhana #IPL2021 pic.twitter.com/xCN5SZPAos
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) April 8, 2021
Since Mandhana has captained one of the teams in the current league and has also won the challenger trophy last year, she feels that a full-fledged women’s IPL would bring in a lot of new talent and help to build a strong squad.
“Yeah, I think the kind of performances we’ve had in the last three-four years is great. The average age of the Indian women’s team is 23-24, which means that there are a lot of young players,” said Mandhana during the podcast.
“The league definitely gives a boost to women’s cricket and gives confidence to youngsters. We’ve seen in men’s cricket; debutants are facing 145-150 speed deliveries quite comfortably. You can’t see that they’re nervous on their debut. The league has played a big role in that, and it’s going to help women’s cricket as well. If you really want to get a strong women’s team in India, it’s the right time to get a women’s league,” she added.
Expressing her desire to play in the women’s league, she said that she wishes to be a part of Mumbai Indians if given a chance.
“I think at the moment I’m happy to lead Trailblazers. But if given a choice, and because I’m from Maharashtra, so Mumbai probably. But I think all the teams are so good and they look after the players so well. Any team would be amazing for development as a player,” she said.
Apart from Mandhana, even KL Rahul and Ben Stokes expressed their views on having a Women’s T20 League in India. While Rahul said- “I’ve been following the Indian women’s team for a few years now, and the kind of performances they’ve been putting up in the past four-five years has been amazing. It would be great to see a women’s team in Punjab as well”, Stokes added- “If you look at where the women’s game has gone to, especially over the last four or five years – I’m very hopeful that there’s a women’s franchise side associated with every men’s franchise side because to be able to grow the women’s game even bigger what better place than to do it out here in India?”
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I’m a Senior Masters student pursuing Journalism and Mass Communication. An all time Cricket enthusiast. I could never play the game but always loved watching it, and now writing about it!