Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Mithali Raj: Women's IPL makes sense only when you have quality players

India women’s captain Mithali Raj and pacer Jhulan Goswami at Wankhede Stadium's Cricket Centre yesterday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
India women’s captain Mithali Raj and pacer Jhulan Goswami at Wankhede Stadium's Cricket Centre yesterday. Pic/Suresh Karkera

With women's cricket picking up pace in India post the World Cup final last year, the call to introduce an IPL-style league for Indian players has been increasing.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was reportedly also keen to test the waters in the forthcoming IPL with a few exhibition matches. However, India captain Mithali Raj did not seem enthusiastic about having a T20 league for women right now, with the domestic set-up still in a developing stage.

"Once we have those many players, it will be wise enough to have an IPL. You can feel a stark difference between an international player and a domestic player. And it might go against promoting domestic players. Personally, I feel that when you have a strong domestic set-up and when you have quality players, then giving them an opportunity in IPL makes sense," Mithali said ahead of the T20 tri-series against Australia and England.

Mithali was spot on in her assessment with the India A teams receiving a drubbing against Australia and England in the warm-up games recently. While Australia thrashed the Indian eves by 321 runs and seven wickets in two one-day games at Bandra Kurla Complex ahead of the ODI series, England registered comprehensive wins in the two T20 warm-up games played at the Brabourne Stadium which concluded yesterday.

Mithali said it is important to be patient with the India A performances. "We just started with the formation of India A last year after we came back from the World Cup, so it will take some time — a couple of years — to get our second string in place. We have some really young talented players and they really need that experience. In a year or two we will surely have better quality players," said the skipper.

Bangalore weather thwarts Jhulan's training India's most successful pacer in women's cricket, Jhulan Goswami rued the fickle Bangalore weather that hampered her preparation for the T20 tri-series that begins tomorrow.

Jhulan achieved the historic 200-wicket feat in South Africa recently, but a heel injury ruled her out for six weeks. She nursed her injury and trained at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. Although she is fit for the tri-series, the pacer's preparation was a bit affected. "It was difficult after the injury. I had a short time to prepare for this series due to the weather. I had a good (training) session today and I am looking to give my best now," she said.

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