Gujarat Giants, Ahmedabad based franchise, have appointed former India captain Mithali Raj as mentor and advisor for the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League (WPL). The first season of the five-team tournament is all set to be played in March this year.
Gujarat Giants became the most expensive franchise in the tournament when they won the bid for Ahmedabad with a whopping sum of 1289 crores. Adani Sportsline, who owns the franchise, expressed their pleasure on the signing of the 40 year old Raj.
“Over the years, Mithali’s trailblazing achievements and contributions to Indian cricket have not only earned her numerous awards and accolades but have also played a key role in bringing women’s cricket into the limelight, both on national and international platforms,” Adani Sportsline said in a statement.
“As a mentor and advisor, Mithali will also promote women’s cricket and help develop the sport at the grassroots level in Gujarat.”
Raj, who represented India in 333 matches across formats, announced her retirement from international cricket in June last year. Her last international appearance was against South Africa during India’s first round exit at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2022.
“The inaugural season of the Women’s Premier League is a fantastic move for women’s cricket and the involvement of the Adani Group is a massive boost for the sport as well,” Raj said.
“Women’s cricket is growing steadily, and this kind of impetus will undoubtedly encourage young women to consider taking up cricket professionally. I believe that the high-impact participation of corporates will help hasten the process of eventually bringing more glory to India. This level of influence can help strengthen the sporting ecosystem and enhance opportunities for women athletes.”
Raj, who scored 2364 runs in T20Is, has been part of BCCI’s exhibition tournament Women’s T20 Challenge and also led Velocity in the second and third editions.
Jhulan Goswami, who announced her retirement in September last year, has been approached by the Delhi based franchise for a bowling coach cum mentor according to a report by sportstar. The report added that Delhi Capitals have also approached former India coach W V Raman for a head coach role.
Apart from Gujarat Giants and Delhi Capitals, the other teams in the tournament are Indiawin Sports owned Mumbai – they are also the owners of Mumbai Indians in men’s Indian Premier League (IPL), Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Capri Global Holdings’ owned Lucknow.