Young girls will benefit from an IPL-style tournament, says Smriti Mandhana

Smriti Mandhana in action in the Women's T20 Challenge. © BCCI/ IPL

Smriti Mandhana has said that a cricket competition on the lines of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for men would help in women cricketers becoming more confident and being more ready for top-flight cricket.

“The league definitely gives a boost to women’s cricket and gives confidence to youngsters. The average age of the Indian women’s team is 23-24, which means that there are a lot of young players. We’ve seen in men’s cricket; debutants are facing 145-150 speed deliveries quite comfortably,” said Mandhana on the Decoding Athletes Podcast.

“You can’t see that they’re nervous on their debut. The league has played a big role in that, and it’s going to help women’s cricket as well. If you really want to get a strong women’s team in India, it’s the right time to get a women’s league.”

Mandhana, who led Trailblazers to the Women’s T20 Challenge title in 2020, said that she is happy to lead them but would like to play for Mumbai, since she’s from Maharashtra.

“I think at the moment I’m happy to lead Trailblazers. But if given a choice, and because I’m from Maharashtra, so Mumbai probably. But I think all the teams are so good and they look after the players so well. Any team would be amazing for development as a player.”

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Mandhana was speaking on the podcast with Isa Guha, with India’s KL Rahul and England’s Ben Stokes present as well. The Indian opener believed that India has been doing well against England in internationals, especially bilateral series, but needs some catching up to do in ICC events.

“I think it’s a very good contest every time we play England. I think whenever you’re playing England or Australia you have to be at your best. You have to step up a bit on your mental side more than your skills.”

“We’ve gotten the better of them on many occasions, and they’ve gotten the better of us in the semi-finals in T20 World Cup (2018) and the 2017 World Cup final. So I guess we have had an upper hand in the bilaterals but in the world tournaments, they’ve performed better,” she concluded.

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