Captains of Supernovas and Trailblazers Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and captain of the new team Velocity spoke ahead of Women’s T20 Challenge in Jaipur.
Moving ahead from the one-off exhibition match played in Mumbai last year, BCCI has decided to unveil a new triangular mini-tournament in which each team will play against each other only once and top two teams will meet in the final.
Raj who is arguably one of the most experienced player in the world and the highest scorer in the International women’s cricket said, “It is a step ahead, we have to begin with small steps. Maybe this could be a full-fledged league year.”
She further added, “Then it could encourage the BCCI or the franchises to come forward to start a proper league.” Stressing on the importance of domestic players getting an opportunity to play with elite overseas players, she said “This offers an opportunity for our young players in domestic cricket to interact with some of the best in the world. When you get at least two games, you could field several youngsters, who could benefit from competing with overseas players.”
Mandhana, the skipper of Trailblazers has already played in Kia Super League in England and Women’s Big Bash League in Australia, knows the importance these tournaments in testing depth of the talent pool. She said “It is also an ideal opportunity for seniors like us to play against our own younger players. With the T20 World Cup just 10 months away, we could find out which players would perform well under pressure.”
Kaur, like Mandhana, too has plied her trade abroad in Kia Super League and WBBL, expressed her satisfaction on the track at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. She recalled the standards of the venue earlier and said, “It has improved a lot since we last played here four or five years ago. The wicket looked good for T20 cricket; we have seen teams making good scores in the IPL.”
Unlike last year where 5 overseas players played in each teams, this year only 4 overseas players have been selected in each squad. Players from New Zealand, Windies, England and Bangladesh will participate in this year’s tournament. Australian players could not play in this edition due to breakdown in communications between Cricket Australia and the BCCI.
Raj commented on their absence by saying “It is unfortunate that the Australian girls are not playing here. We would have loved to have them in this tournament.”
All the matches will be played at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur starting on 6th May and the final will be played on 11th at the same venue.