In a BBC podcast named ‘The Doosra’, Indian opening batswoman Smriti Mandhana suggested that a complete Women’s Indian Premier League can make a difference in identifying the talent which would eventually help the Indian team in global tournaments.
Also acknowledging the efforts made by the BCCI so far in pursuit of a Women’s IPL, the vice captain of the Indian T20I side said, “The BCCI has put in a lot of effort, first we had an exhibition match kind of Women’s IPL two years ago then there was a very successful IPL with three teams. And this year it was supposed to be four teams. I’m sure a lot of IPL style matches will take place for a year or two. A five or six team IPL for women will be great for Indian Women’s Cricket especially for World Cup Cricket.”
Mandhana, who was awarded the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year in 2019, shared a conversation she had with Indian Men’s team skipper Virat Kohli during the ceremony.
She said, “I spoke to Virat in New Zealand last year. Both of us had got the ICC award he said ‘Your team can do something in India that the men’s team can’t. That changes the culture of women in India and that you all as the team have a big role to play in future. Whenever you feel like a gym session think that you can inspire a generation of women to take up sports.'”
The left hander from Sangli hopes the gap between the domestic and international cricket that exists in women’s cricket in the country right now will be bridged soon. She said, “Women’s Cricket in India is growing massively, especially the domestic circuit. But there’s still a lot of gap between competition between the international and domestic circuit which I think will be bridged in 2-3 years.”
The Indian Women’s team has come a long way since entering their maiden final of a World Cup in 2017, and coach WV Raman feels the side has the potential to become the best team in three years.
Asked if she feels the same Mandhana said, “We’ve grown a lot as a team especially after the 2017 WC. T20 format is not one of our strengths before but we have done reasonably well in the last two World Cups. Not just this one in Australia, but the one we played in the West Indies was a very good World Cup, unfortunately, we lost to England. What Raman sir said will happen. But I can’t say in how many years maybe next year or in 3-4 years or 5 years but I’m certain it will happen.”