Ahead of the inaugural Women’s T20 Challenge, it is learnt that Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana have made a big push for the event despite their skipper Mithali Raj’s reservations.
Mithali had made a categorical statement two months ago that India is not ready for women’s IPL as yet.
“I think it’s important to have a pool of quality players who will be qualified to play the IPL kind of league. India-A itself needs quality players. Once we have enough players, it would be wise enough to think about it. There is a big difference between an international player and a domestic player. Presently, it (league) may go against promoting women’s cricket,” Mithali had said after being thrashed by Meg Lanning’s Australia side in March.
Harmanpreet will lead the IPL Supernovas side against the Mandhana’s IPL Trailblazers in the Women’s T20 Challenge ahead of the IPL Qualifier 1 match at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday (May 22). The playing XI of two teams will consist of four foreign players and seven Indian players.
Following the practice session at the Brabourne Stadium on Monday (May 12), Smriti responded to Mithali’s observations, saying: “Well, we cannot have eight teams right now, but yes, four or five teams. To start with it would be a good initiative because when the men’s IPL began (in 2008), only foreigners did well in the first two seasons. Later on, we started developing India’s bench strength. One never knows, the same can happen in women’s cricket. I think it’s easier to develop the bench strength through the IPL. India’s bench strength will be able to play with us and the foreigners and learn much more quickly.”
Endorsing Mandhana’s viewpoint, Indian women’s Twenty20 captain, Harmanpreet Kaur said: “I do think we have enough players. Twenty players have been active and representing India across the two formats. There is also the `A’ team. Well, I think we have 30 to 35 girls. It has to be seen how we all respond tomorrow. If it turns out to be good, then the BCCI can think of starting an IPL for women from next year.”
(With inputs from SportStar)