Smriti Mandhana at the press conference. ©ICC

Australia will host a first ever ‘A’ team series on their soil in December as India ‘A’ team will travel to Brisbane for a three-match 50 overs series followed by three-match T20 matches.

Both the boards are looking to increase their squad depth with players gaining a valuable international experience ahead of India’s triangular T20I series in Australia followed by T20 World Cup.

India’s T20 Vice-Captain Smriti Mandhana appreciated BCCI’s efforts in arranging the ‘A’ tour. Speaking to Firstpost she said, “To have A tours was one step that all the players wanted badly. If we don’t play India A versus other teams, the bench strength won’t be formed. This is a really great move by the BCCI to send India A to Australia and gain experience.”

She continued, “I am sure before the (T20) World Cup, the girls will have valuable experience (of playing in Australia) and you never know, one or two girls, with some impressive performances, could be picked in the World Cup squad. Hopefully, the BCCI also has a cricketing calendar set for the entire year.”

Mandhana shared her views about recently concluded Women’s T20 Challenge in Jaipur, which saw three teams contesting for the championship. She further added, “If you look at the success of the Women’s IPL we had, I have to say I am definitely satisfied. We saw over 15,000 people turning up without a lot of hype and advertisement.”

“Generally, the build-up for men’s IPL begins one month in advance. It was just 10 days back when the promotions for WIPL started. These are all baby steps and I don’t think that in the pursuit of creating something big, we let it fall. Taking cautious steps at this moment is better. And winning one World Cup will change things drastically”.

T20 leagues in other nations particularly in Australia has established itself and will be played as a standalone tournament for the first time. It has been made possible only because of Cricket Australia’s dedicated effort to promote Women’s Cricket and thus Women’s Big Bash League will enter in its fifth season.

Upon asked about comparing WBBL to Women’s T20 Challenge in India, Mandhana said, “It is not right to compare WIPL with WBBL. It is too early to compare as well. WBBL is an eight-team affair, while Women’s IPL was a three-team contest. Also, last year there were two teams, this year we had three, so it is getting bigger and exciting. We had crowds coming in and all those are positives as a cricketer and as for the board too.”

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