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Deepti Sharma

Anjum Chopra
Anjum Chopra
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Anjum Chopra Calls For A Structured Plan To Initiate Women’s IPL Immediately

Anjum Chopra believes that while the BCCI has shown intent, having announced a four-team Women’s T20 Challenge last season before it was cancelled owing to the pandemic, there is a gap with its execution due to their conviction in going forward.

Former Indian captain Anjum Chopra, the cricketer-turned-commentator, also called for a ‘structured plan for initiating a women’s IPL’ with just four or five teams, explaining why the board might benefit from starting the tournament without any further delay.

Former India cricketer Anjum Chopra. DC File Photo
Former India cricketer Anjum Chopra. DC File Photo

Anjum Chopra Is In Favour Of A Shorter IPL For Women Which Should Start Immediately After India Women Were Successful In Women’s Big Bash League

Following their participation in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), women’s cricket in India has successfully hit a new high. And if that wasn’t enough, the fact that most of the players returned an impressive show in the tournament adds to it.

As many as eight Indian players have returned home, having gained from the rich experience of playing in one of the biggest franchise T20 cricket leagues in the world, and leading the way was Harmanpreet Kaur, who emerged as the biggest star, winning the Player of the Tournament honour following her all-round brilliance for the Melbourne Renegades in Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL).

The India captain peeled off 399 runs at 66.50 and a strike rate of 135.25, including three match-winning half-centuries and was a huge asset with the ball grabbing 15 wickets.

Smriti Mandhana. Image-PTI
Smriti Mandhana. Image-PTI

Accompanying her in setting the WBBL on fire was her India teammate Smriti Mandhana, who smashed a record century for Sydney Thunder. It was accompanied by decent outings by Jemimah Rodrigues, Radha Yadav, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh, Poonam Yadav and Shafali Verma, as the chorus has only grown louder in support of a women’s Indian Premier League with several current and former players joining in the debate.

” Women’s IPL… it’s a very interesting stage. I understand the chorus is happening and people are saying that it should happen especially after Harmanpreet (Kaur) won the Player of the Tournament (Women’s Big Bash League) award. All these are absolutely fine, ” said Anjum Chopra on Women’s IPL after outstanding performances from women cricketers in Women’s Big Bash League

“The day the BCCI decides to conduct a Women’s IPL it will happen, the point is, the resistance is not only because they do not want to start it or they do not want a women’s tournament. I think there might be some other issues or questions on how it can be done and how it can be handled. We can of course have a shorter version of the IPL, maybe with 4 or 5 proper teams with international players, ” said Anjum Chopra on Women’s IPL.

“IPL men’s tournament is now on a very auto-pilot stage. And people like Venkatesh Iyer have been chosen for the Indian team straightaway from a seven-match performance in IPL 2021. There was a time when players were judged by their performance in a season, but now players are selected based on their performance in half a season,” said Anjum Chopra on selection in national team after decent outings in men’s IPL. 

“Many years ago, not many people know about it but people in the BCCI do know, I have already worked on it. 4 or 5 teams will definitely make a lot of sense. Maybe an administrator is assigned.  You can have the same people running the Women’s event as well,” said Anjum Chopra.

“But probably they know the answer better as to whether they do need a separate team altogether. No cricket organisation has so much manpower. So, it is not about intent with the BCCI not wanting to initiate it. Let’s not forget that they had proposed a four-team Women’s T20 Challenge event last season and would have happened in May had the pandemic not hit. So that was already announced,” Anjum Chopra further said.

“It’s not the franchises in India that do not want to do a Women’s IPL. It’s the parent body that needs to lead the way. If the BCCI can increase the size of the IPL from 8 to 10, I’m sure we can have a structured plan for initiating a women’s IPL.

“It may not be eight teams to 10 teams, it can be just five or six or even four teams. But in a very structured manner. But the benefit that BCCI will have now is that these women’s T20 leagues have already mushroomed around the world, whether it is the Women’s Big Bash or the Kia Super League. So it’s all about intent and execution.”

Earlier, the BCCI had announced a four-team Women’s T20 Challenge (WT20C) for last season, but it was cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The WT20C began as a one-off exhibition match in 2018 before becoming a three-team, four-match event in the next two years. It has also been given an official T20 status.

Anjum Chopra: Harmanpreet Kaur Emerging Out Of Her Injuries And Is Contributing With Bat And Ball

Also, with Harmanpreet Kaur recently winning the Player of the Tournament in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), calls for a women’s IPL have increased in India.

“Didn’t see all of her innings though, but she scored runs at a strike rate of over 130 which is good for me. But what is heartening to see is that she is emerging out of her injuries that she has been picking up over the last couple of years and she has come back to striking the ball in a way she has been known best. She is contributing with the bat and ball. And that’s a very good sign for Indian cricket and for Harmanpreet.”

“You need scores to back yourself now. She had a few good performances but she hasn’t had an impactful performance. Picking up the player of the tournament award is very special for any player. And others have also done well. For Harmanpreet I hope she is ready to carry this form as long as possible for the Indian team as well.” said Anjum Chopra on Harmanpreet Kaur.

Harmanpreet Kaur of Melbourne Renegades. Photo- Getty
Harmanpreet Kaur of Melbourne Renegades. Photo- Getty

“Jemimah batted well, very good. Smriti Mandhana scored a record century, again very impressive. So all these things are absolutely essential for Indian cricket that these players will come back with a valuable experience and exposure in a tough situation.

“Harmanpreet, who won the Player of the Tournament award, still has to play a match-winning knock in 50-over cricket which is very different to T20 cricket,” maintained Anjum Chopra on performances from Indian women cricketers in Women’s Big Bash League.

“Franchise cricket is very different from international cricket and how players are utilized in franchise cricket is up to them and how the player shapes up.. I was actually not surprised that she (Shafali Verma) was used in different conditions. At least they gave her an opportunity to be part of the XI because we have seen in the IPL that if a player doesn’t perform in two games, then there is no coming back,”Anjum Chopra concluded.

Anjum Chopra also said that the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises want Women’s IPL, but the parent body will have to make way for it. She also mentioned that BCCI can definitely organise a women’s IPL with 5 or 6 teams if they can increase the number of teams in the men’s IPL.

Sydney Thunder: Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma

Melbourne Renegades: Harmanpreet Kaur, Jemimah Rodrigues

Hobart Hurricanes: Richa Ghosh

Brisbane Heat: Poonam Yadav

Sydney Sixers: Radha Yadav, Shafali Verma

The 2021 edition of Women's Big Bash League, WBBL 2021will begin on October 14 in Hobart | Photo: Cricket Australia
The 2021 edition of Women's Big Bash League, WBBL 2021will begin on October 14 in Hobart | Photo: Cricket Australia
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WBBL 07 Inaugural Week Uncertain After Hobert’s 3 Day Lockdown For COVID-19

WBBL 07 – The Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) inaugural week is facing uncertainty after Hobart was put under a three-day lockdown on Friday due to surging Covid-19 cases in Tasmania.

The seventh edition of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL 07), kickstarting on Thursday, will feature as many as eight Indian players – the highest number so far in the history of the Australian tournament. It is a fitting testament to the development of the young talent in the last T20 World Cup’s runners-up.

WBBL 07- Women's Big Bash League 2021
WBBL 07- Women’s Big Bash League 2021

WBBL 07- The Women’s Big Bash League’s Inaugural Week Uncertain As Hobart Goes Under A 3 Day Lockdown For Increase In Rising Covid-19 Cases

WBBL 07 is under uncertainty as Hobart goes under a three-day Lockdown owing to the rising Covid-19 cases in Tasmania on Friday. Cricket Australia has stated that they are working on a contingency plan.

Opener Smriti Mandhana, off-spinning all-rounder Deepti Sharma (Sydney Thunder), opener Shafali Verma, left-arm spinner Radha Yadav (Sydney Sixers), batters Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur (Melbourne Renegades) keeper-bat Richa Ghosh (Hobart Hurricanes), and leg-spinner Poonam Yadav (Brisbane Heat) are the eight Indians set to feature in WBBL 07.

“Four WBBL-07 games are scheduled to be played at Blundstone Arena (in Hobart) across Saturday and Sunday, with Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein suggesting crowds will now not be able to attend those matches,” a report said on Friday, adding that Cricket Australia (CA) was in talks with the Tasmanian government after the flash lockdown was imposed.

The Sydney Sixers won the WBBL opener in Hobart on Thursday night, but doubts have been cast over upcoming games there.
The Sydney Sixers won the WBBL opener in Hobart on Thursday night, but doubts have been cast over upcoming games there. Photograph: Sarah Reed/Getty Images

The report said that CA and the Tasmanian government were working on “a contingency plan”, adding that the Australian cricket’s governing body had informed the state government authorities that all players and staff members had received COVID-19 vaccinations.

During a press conference on Friday, Gutwein was quoted as saying that, “Bearing in mind there are national and international matters to consider here in terms of the broadcast, if they do go ahead they would go ahead with no crowd and with the players remaining in a bubble.”

Cricket Australia will attempt to push on with the WBBL 07 in Hobart this weekend, despite Tasmania’s capital being plunged into a snap three-day lockdown on Friday. Just a day after Sydney Sixers beat Melbourne Stars in the first game of the tournament, Cricket Australia was left sweating on fears of a potential Covid-19 outbreak in southern Tasmania.

The next four games are scheduled to be played in Hobart this weekend, with two double-headers at Blundstone Arena. In the best-case scenario for Cricket Australia, those games at Hobart will now be played without crowds.

Cricket Australia Working With Tasmanian Government On Options For WBBL 07 Matches At Hobart

A total of eight Indian players, including Smriti Mandhana, are playing in the WBBL 07, and seven of the eight WBBL sides are already in Tasmania.

“Perth Scorchers were due to fly in (later) on Friday for their first match against Brisbane Heat on October 17 but confirmed they would remain in Western Australia until more information was available,” the report added.

“Also, Hurricanes are scheduled to play the Renegades on Saturday afternoon, before the Strikers meet the Thunder on Saturday night. The Hurricanes then back up against the Sixers on Sunday morning, before the Heat play the Scorchers,” the report said.

Alyssa Healy of the Sixers on her way to making 57 in the opening Women's Big Bash League match of the season. Photograph: Steve Bell/Getty Images
Alyssa Healy of the Sixers is on her way to making 57 in the opening Women’s Big Bash League match of the season. Photograph: Steve Bell/Getty Images

“The health and safety of our players, staff, match officials and partners, along with that of the wider community, remains our top priority,” CA said in a statement, adding, “We are currently working with the Tasmanian Government on options for the upcoming Weber WBBL|07 matches at Blundstone Arena, Hobart this weekend.”

“The next matches are not due to be played until October 19, after the scheduled end of the lockdown on Monday evening,” the report added.

More than 20 games are scheduled to be held in Tasmania over the next two-and-a-half weeks, in a bid to begin the WBBL 07 during Sydney and Melbourne’s lockdowns. The Perth Scorchers have already confirmed they will remain in Western Australia until at least Saturday, pushing back their flight on Friday. They are due to face Brisbane Heat on Sunday morning. All of the other seven teams are believed to already be in Hobart.

Alyssa Healy started the WBBL 07 season superbly as she guided the Sydney Sixers to a six-wicket win over the Melbourne Stars in Hobart. Consistent rainfall pushed back the start of Thursday night’s tournament opener at Blundstone Arena, reducing the match to 11 overs aside. Alyssa Healy whacked 57 from 27 deliveries, including four fours in a row off rookie Tess Flintoff in the third over, as the Sydney Sixers chased down the 100-run target with four balls to spare.

Smriti Mandhana (Source: AP)
Smriti Mandhana (Source: AP)
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Smriti Mandhana Will Lead Indian Women At Some Point: Ramesh Powar

Smriti Mandhana was head and shoulders above all her Indian women batting colleagues during an otherwise disappointing series against Australian women which India lost 5-11 on a multiple-format point count.

Indian women’s team head coach Ramesh Powar is confident that the supremely stylish Smriti Mandhana, at some point in the near future, will captain the side as she is being looked upon as a potential leader.

Ramesh Powar. (TOI Photo)
Ramesh Powar. (TOI Photo)

Smriti Mandhana Will Lead At Some Point: Ramesh Powar

He, however, made it clear that he is setting no timeline for a change in leadership. The 25-year-old Smriti Mandhana had one of her best away series where she scored 86 in a WODI followed by a majestic 127, her first ton in Tests, and then a 52, albeit for a losing cause in the final women’s T20I.

“We are looking at her as a leader. At some point, she will lead,” Powar said after the end of the series.

Smriti Mandhana. Image-PTI
Smriti Mandhana. Image-PTI

One of the biggest reasons for zeroing in on Smriti Mandhana as a potential leader is a fact that she is an inspiration for the younger players in this team.

“She inspires a lot of younger players in the team. Obviously, we will rate her highly. The way she batted in Test was amazing, especially under lights. We knew she would come good,” Powar said, praising the T20 vice-captain.

What Ramesh Powar expected in all these years was consistency from Smriti Mandhana, and the Maharashtra batswoman is finally showing signs of good things that can be expected in the future.

“One season (of consistency), she will be a different player. She gets lots of game time playing in leagues across the world. And it becomes an advantage as in India you don’t get so much of game time.”

India has to “address some future roles for leadership”, perhaps after the conclusion of the Women 50-over World Cup in March-April. It’s possible Smriti Mandhana will become a top contender to take over the leadership.

As things stand, Mithali Raj captains in the longer Test formats while Harmanpreet Kaur remains T20I captain. Smriti Mandhana, deputy to Harmanpreet Kaur in T20Is, however, was the vice-captain throughout the multi-format series in Australia in Harmanpreet Kaur’s injury-enforced absence from the three-ODI leg and the standalone pink-ball Test.

Ramesh Powar: One Needs Characters To Win Women World Cup

Ramesh Powar is happy that in both England and Australia women series, the team management was able to give a lot of chances to younger players and also those in the fringes.

“You need characters to win World Cup. We stand at a juncture where Mithali and Jhulan will phase out at some point. We tested young bowlers like Meghana Singh and Renuka Thakur. We wanted to test our players,” said the former India off-spinner.

India Women
India Women. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Ramesh Powar also made it clear that there is no room for complacency, as leg-spinner Poonam Yadav found out after consistent non-performance.

“If you are not performing your role, you will be sidelined. We don’t allow someone take their place for granted. The players who had to sit out were given proper chances,” the coach said.

All-rounder Deepti Sharma’s lack of firepower in the middle-overs has been a cause for worry, and Ramesh Powar informed that batting coach Shiv Sunder Das is working with the Bengal player.

“Change can’t happen in 10 days. Batting coach SS Das is working with her,” he added.

India lost both WODI and WT20I series 1-2 and 0-2, respectively, while one T20 game was washed out. Harmanpreet Kaur, along with seven others, will compete in the Women’s Big Bash League.

Shafali Verma, Radha Yadav will be a part of the premier women's domestic T20 tournament, WBBL, with Sydney Sixers | Courtesy- Cricket.com.au
Shafali Verma, Radha Yadav will be a part of the premier women's domestic T20 tournament, WBBL, with Sydney Sixers | Courtesy- Cricket.com.au
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Shafali Verma And Radha Yadav Signed By WBBL Club Sydney Sixers For WBBL 07

Shafali Verma, a young batting sensation and left-arm spinner Radha Yadav have been snapped up by Sydney Sixers ahead of the upcoming WBBL, the club announced on Monday (September 27). The announcement comes a day after Sydney Thunder confirmed the signings of Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma.

Shafali Verma, India’s youngest debutant in international cricket, put up stunning performances on Australian shores last year at the T20 World Cup and sits on top of the ICC rankings in the format.

Smriti Mandhana. Image-PTI
Smriti Mandhana. Image-PTI

Shafali Verma Bags Her Maiden WBBL Deal

At the back of her T20 exploits, the teenager also played for Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred recently. On Sunday (September 26), she starred in India’s famous win over Australia with a mature half-century. With her stocks constantly on the rise, Shafali Verma has now bagged her maiden WBBL deal. On Sunday, she scored a maiden ODI half-century with a mature knock of 56 as India upset the mighty Australian team, snapping a 26-game win streak.

“This is a very good opportunity for me and my goal is to just enjoy myself, to make some new friends and have fun,” Verma said. “I want to play WBBL and back myself and just believe in myself.”

Shafali Verma played for the Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred recently
Shafali Verma played for the Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred recently © Getty

Head Coach Ben Sawyer, who worked with Shafali Verma in England in the recently-concluded inaugural season of the Hundred, lavished praises on the youngster labeling her fearless.

“She hits to different areas of the field and plays shots that are different to the other three girls in that top four,” he said. “The experience I had with her in Birmingham was that she wants to learn, she wants to get better and she wants to grow as a player and a person.”

At just 17, Shafali Verma, who in 2019 became India’s youngest ever to play women’s T20 internationals, is widely considered the best batting talent in the world and currently sits atop the ICC Women’s T20I Player Rankings. Shafali Verma is expected to form a lethal combination with Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry, and Ash Gardner at the top of the order for the Sixers, giving the team the most exciting top four in WBBL history.

Radha Yadav Will Be Making Her Maiden WBBL Appearance

Radha Yadav, who is in India’s squad for the upcoming T20Is against Australia, will also be making her maiden appearance in the WBBL.

“Lots of young Indian girls want to play in the WBBL,” Yadav said. “It is a very good standard and I am so happy to be able to play for the Sixers this year.”

Radha Yadav (Getty Images)
Radha Yadav (Getty Images)

Ben Sawyer was delighted with the 21-year-old spinner’s acquisition as well considering the variety she lends to the bowling attack.

“Radha brings a skill set that we have never had at the Sixers and that’s very exciting,” he said. “I think a left-arm ortho bowler is so important in the WBBL and having one who is world-class is such a great opportunity for this team. She has also batted in the middle of the order for India so she is handy with the bat too.”

Not to be overshadowed by her teenage teammate, left-arm orthodox spinner Radha Yadav who is placed 11th on the ICC Women’s T20I Player Rankings arrives at the Sydney Sixers with an outstanding resume of her own. Now aged 21, Radha Yadav was one of the discoveries of the 2018 ICC Women’s World Twenty20, finishing as the joint-leading wicket-taker for India in the tournament, with eight dismissals in five matches.

The Sydney Sixers begin their WBBL 07 campaign in the season opener against the Melbourne Stars on Thursday, October 14 at Blundstone Arena in Hobart.

Smriti Mandhana. Image-PTI
Smriti Mandhana. Image-PTI
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Smriti Mandhana And Deepti Sharma Signed By Sydney Thunder In WBBL 2021/22

Smriti Mandhana and allrounder Deepti Sharma were signed by WBBL franchise Sydney Thunder, the defending WBBL champions who have pulled off a coup signing the duo ahead of their title defence in October.

Experienced Smriti Mandhana, coming off her highest ODI score of the year, is set to play for her third WBBL club after previous stints with Brisbane Heat and Hobart Hurricanes. Deepti Sharma has never played in the WBBL but has experience in domestic T20 leagues.

Smriti Mandhana is set for her third WBBL club Albert Perez/Getty Images
Smriti Mandhana is set for her third WBBL club Albert Perez/Getty Images

Sydney Thunder Signs Smriti Mandhana And Deepti Sharma

Deepti Sharma featured in the women’s competition of the inaugural Hundred, for London Spirit in 2020, claiming 10 wickets at an economy rate of 5.26 and, along with Smriti Mandhana, was part of Western Storm’s title-winning 2019 campaign at the now-defunct Kia Super League.

England's Captain Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont ©Action Images/Paul Childs
England’s Captain Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont ©Action Images/Paul Childs

The pair come in as replacements for English duo Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont who were unavailable despite England’s tour of Pakistan being cancelled. Shafali Verma and Radha Yadav are also set to play in the WBBL with Shafali Verma’s father, Sanjeev Verma, confirming that she has signed with Sydney Sixers back in May.

Smriti Mandhana Excited To Learn From Another Opportunity To Play In The WBBL

Smriti Mandhana, 25, said she was excited to get another opportunity to play in the WBBL and relished the challenge of being the marquee overseas player.

“Playing in overseas leagues gives you a lot of experience, especially in the T20 format,” Mandhana said. “Then, of course, you exchange so much experience with each other . . . with all the players from over the world . . . so you get to learn a lot. Rather than ‘pressure’, I always look at it as an opportunity to learn, and to get used to that pressure because it only builds when you play international cricket.”

Deepti Sharma ANI
Deepti Sharma ANI

Deepti Sharma, 24, was thrilled to get her first chance to play in the WBBL.

“This is my first time [in the WBBL], so I’m excited,” Sharma said. “I’ve had offers before, but I couldn’t play at the time because at the time we had [an international] series. It’s a big thing for Indian women’s cricket that we have the opportunity to play in the WBBL. We have to express ourselves in the competition.”

Coach Trevor Griffin, who earlier worked with the pair at Storm, felt the Indian duo were the perfect replacements for the England pair of Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont.

“While it’s disappointing not to be able to have Heather back, if you could choose any replacement for her it would be Deepti – she’s also a star,” Griffin said. “She offers a lot with the bat – Deepti is a match-winner – and she also has the talent to bowl in the powerplay, during the middle of a match, or at the death.

“Smriti is an opening batter who has the tremendous ability to take everything in her stride. I like that she keeps her game really simple; she just wants to score runs. I’m delighted to have her on board, and I have no doubt that she’ll prove to be a great addition to Thunder.”

The WBBL begins on October 14, following India’s ongoing multi-format series against Australia, with the first 20 matches to be played in Tasmania. The finals of the WBBL 2021 will be set to play on 27th November of 2021. The WBBL 2021 features 59 matches in total which includes 56 group league matches, an Eliminator, a Challenger, and a final match.

Ian Chappell
Ian Chappell
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Ian Chappell Reckons T20 Format Is Enough To Take cricket Into Olympics And Not The 100

Ian Chappell, former Australia captain reckons that the T20 format is enough to take the sport into the Olympics and the newest addition ‘The Hundred’ was not really needed.

The Hundred is an England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) brainchild, and it is featuring eight teams taking on each other. The first match in the competition was played between the women’s teams of Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals on July 21. The Hundred is a 100-ball cricket competition that is seeing (both men and women) featuring in the tournament.

At what point does cricket become less of a game and more of an entertainment? Getty Images
At what point does cricket become less of a game and more of an entertainment? Getty Images

Ian Chappell: T20 Enough For Participating In The Olympics And A Further Reduction-The 100 Wasn’t Necessary

Trent Rockets is leading the Men’s points table with 6 points by winning all 3 games while Northern Superchargers is leading Women’s points tally with 7 points in 4 games(3 wins and 1 no-result).

“Apart from reducing the number of balls to obtain a terrestrial television deal, the reasoning behind the Hundred could well be that it improves the chances of cricket fulfilling the Olympic dream. This is often cited as a way to spread the game’s popularity to a wider audience. Surely the T20 format could achieve that same outcome without yet another reduction,” Ian Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo.

“Cricket is a team game ideally played by 11 members aside. Performance satisfaction is a big reason why youngsters fall in love with the game. Administrators would do well to remember that before they rush into devising shorter forms of the game. The more the length of an innings is reduced, the greater chance that there will be players “just making up the numbers”. Even those players crave occasional performance satisfaction,” Ian Chappell added.

Further talking about the new format, Ian Chappell said: “Throughout my playing career I believed there were two possible solutions to a problem: a simple one and a complicated one. I also believed that to the benefit of Australia, England would regularly choose the complicated solution. They’ve done it again.”

File image of Ian Chappell.(Hindustan Times)
File image of Ian Chappell. (Hindustan Times)

“To overcome the perceived problem of public not fully conversant with cricket, they’ve concocted another form of the game – The Hundred. That’s right, they’ve reduced by a mere 20 balls a format that was extremely popular with players and the public,” Ian Chappell added.

The England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) The Hundred tournament is currently going on with much fanfare. The unique format sees both the team face 100 balls each with new sets of rules for the players.

Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Rashid Khan Are Some Of The Prominent Names Participating In The 100

Players like Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Rashid Khan, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, Sunil Narine, Eoin Morgan, Moeen Ali, and Jonny Bairstow are taking part in the tournament. Women’s cricket matches are also taking place simultaneously in the Hundred with five Indian players featuring across women’s teams – Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Deepti Sharma, and Jemimah Rodrigues.

The Hundred
The Hundred

Probably in her worst batting phase before coming into the tournament, Jemimah Rodrigues dazzled on her Hundred debut with an unbeaten 92 off 43 balls studded with a whopping 17 fours and a six. She pulled Northern Superchargers out of deep trouble from 19 for 4 and took them to a stunning six-wicket win with 15 balls remaining.

Jemimah Rodrigues continued her form in the next game with another fifty – 60 off 41 with ten fours – against Trent Rockets that posted a match-winning 149 for her team.

Kevin Pietersen file image | Faheem Hussain - Sportzpics
Kevin Pietersen file image | Faheem Hussain - Sportzpics
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England Would Have Been More Successful If The Hundred Had Started Earlier, Says Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen believes if The Hundred had started earlier, England would have been a much better white-ball team. Kevin Pietersen highlighted how during his playing days there were only three or four English players playing the extravagant IPL. The former batsman also suggested that he was often left frustrated by the England team management’s decision to pick conservative batsmen.

England had a disastrous 2015 World Cup campaign as they lost to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Australia, and Bangladesh. They failed to even clear the group stage hurdle. But since then, under the captaincy of Eoin Morgan, England’s white-ball team has been known to play an aggressive brand of cricket as was evident in their 2019 World Cup victory beating New Zealand in the final in a thriller.

Eoin Morgan of England celebrates with his team as he lifts the Cricket World Cup trophy after the Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between New Zealand and England at Lord's Cricket Ground on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Eoin Morgan of England celebrates with his team as he lifts the Cricket World Cup trophy after the Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between New Zealand and England at Lord’s Cricket Ground on July 14, 2019, in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Kevin Pietersen: England Would Have Been More Successful If The Hundred Had Started Earlier

Kevin Pietersen suggested that if more English players had played in the IPL in the past, England would have adapted to the new ways much quicker.

Pietersen said in an interaction with the Daily Mail: “One hundred per cent (if England would have been more successful if The Hundred had come earlier). I played in an era when only four or five of us were playing IPL cricket and we were all frustrated sat in England teams, asking, “What on earth are we doing blocking the ball? Why are we picking players who block the ball?” Now you’ve got an England team full of IPL stars who get dropped if they block it. It’s a complete change in mindset.”

Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen. Image Credits: Twitter

The inaugural edition of The Hundred starts tomorrow, with the men’s edition set to begin on July 22nd.

Kevin Pietersen: BCCI And ECB Should Work Out A Way To Include Indian Male Cricketers In The Hundred

The former England batsman also hopes that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) can work out a way to include male Indian cricketers in The Hundred in the near future. Dinesh Karthik recently admitted that he would be open to playing in The Hundred.

However, with current rules set in place by the BCCI, the male Indian fringe cricketers who are still vying for spots in the national team or want to carry on playing domestic cricket have predominantly stayed away from foreign leagues to avoid risking their careers. Kevin Pietersen realizes the number of fans following The Hundred would increase if Indian male players joined the tournament.

Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)
Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)

“The male Indian players make the TV numbers shoot through the roof, and they also make the crowds. They’re so well supported. Politically, if the two boards are on that level and conversations are happening then that would be a huge coup for English cricket,” said Kevin Pietersen.

The BCCI has given NOC to five women cricketers to participate in the inaugural season of The Hundred. Shafali Verma, Harmanpreet Kaur, Jemimah Rodrigues, Smriti Mandhana, and Deepti Sharma are set to feature in the women’s edition of the competition.

The Hundred is a professional franchise 100-ball cricket tournament involving eight men’s and women’s teams located in major cities across England and Wales. The tournament will be run by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and will take place for the first time in summer 2021, having been delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chris Woakes, Dom Sibley, Moeen Ali, and Adam Milne will be part of the Birmingham Phoenix, while Zak Crawley, Dan Lawrence, and Eoin Morgan will be part of the London Spirit. Jos Buttler, Phil Salt, Matt Parkinson, and Lockie Ferguson will be part of the Manchester Originals.

Ben Stokes, Adil Rashid, and David Willey will be part of the Northern Superchargers. Sam Curran, Rory Burns, Tom Curran, and Reece Topley will be part of the Oval Invincibles.

Jofra Archer, Liam Dawson, George Garton, Chris Jordan, and Tymal Mills will be part of the Southern Brave. Joe Root, Rashid Khan, and Alex Hales will be part of the Trent Rockets.  Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow, and Tom Banton will be part of the Welsh Fire.

Ellyse Perry - GETTY IMAGES
Ellyse Perry - GETTY IMAGES
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Ellyse Perry Withdraws From The Hundred Citing Personal Reasons

Ellyse Perry, Australian all-rounder has withdrawn from the inaugural season of The Hundred citing personal reasons. The 30-year old woman cricketer was slated to play for Birmingham Phoenix but the all-rounder has pulled out of the tournament.

Ellyse Perry was due to play for Birmingham Phoenix in the inaugural season of the Women's Hundred Getty Images
Ellyse Perry was due to play for Birmingham Phoenix in the inaugural season of the Women’s Hundred Getty Images

Ellyse Perry’s Australia Teammates Also Pulled Out

Ellyse Perry’s Australia teammates Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, and Meg Lanning have also pulled out of the showpiece event, ahead of the start of the multi-format series against India, which begins in September.

“We are obviously very disappointed that Ellyse Perry has had to withdraw from the Hundred due to personal circumstances, but we completely understand her decision and wish her all the best,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Beth Barrett-Wild, head of the women’s competition, as saying.

Sophie Devine has been playing since the end of September when New Zealand toured Australia Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images
Sophie Devine has been playing since the end of September when New Zealand toured Australia Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

Ellyse Perry’s absence further depletes a Phoenix squad that will already be without Sophie Devine. The New Zealander had pulled out of the tournament last month, The women’s Hundred will begin on July 21 and will run until August 21.

Meg Lanning, Beth Mooney, Georgia Wareham (all representing Welsh Fire), Sophie Molineux, Elyse Villani, Annabel Sutherland (all representing Trent Rockets), Ashleigh Gardner (Ellyse Perry’s teammate in Birmingham Phoenix), Alyssa Healy, and Nicola Carey (both Northern Superchargers) had already withdrawn while Rachael Haynes had confirmed her unavailability to turn out for the Oval Invincibles in May.

Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur, Jemimah Rodrigues, And Deepti Sharma Will Feature In The Hundred

Meanwhile, five Indian women cricketers — Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur, Jemimah Rodrigues, and Deepti Sharma — will be seen in action in the inaugural edition of ‘The Hundred’. Shafali Verma is the number one ranked short-form batter and she has joined Birmingham Phoenix as a replacement for Sophie Devine.

Harmanpreet Kaur will star in the opening match, at the Kia Oval on July 21, as she joins Manchester Originals. Jemimah Rodrigues will feature for Northern Superchargers. Smriti Mandhana is set to form a devastating opening partnership with Danni Wyatt at Southern Brave, while Deepti Sharma joins England captain Heather Knight at London Spirit.

Shafali Verma became the third youngest Indian women cricketer to play Test cricket after she was handed her debut | Photo: BCCI women
Shafali Verma became the third-youngest Indian women cricketer to play Test cricket after she was handed her debut | Photo: BCCI women

The Hundred, to be organized and invented by ECB, will feature eight teams taking on each other. The first match in the competition will be played between the women’s teams of Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals on July 21.
The Hundred is a 100-ball cricket competition that will see prominent players (both men and women) featuring in the tournament in the English summer.

Jhulan Goswami File Photo
Jhulan Goswami File Photo
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India Women Players Are Trying Out Various Options To Be Better Prepared For World Cup, Says Jhulan Goswami

Jhulan Goswami said the Indian women’s cricket team would be trying out various options during the upcoming England series and beyond to check out what is the best possible combination that can be fielded going into next year’s WODI World Cup in New Zealand.

India’s senior middle-order batters like skipper Mithali Raj, Punam Raut, and Deepti Sharma were all guilty of wasting as many as 180 odd deliveries in the first ODI which England won by eight wickets chasing a modest target of 202. Mithali Raj top-scored with a 108-ball 72 but aside from Shafali Verma, who made a 14-ball 15, no India batter could score at a 90-plus strike rate.

Mithali Raj scored her 56th ODI fifty but struggled for rhythm Getty Images
Mithali Raj scored her 56th ODI fifty but struggled for rhythm Getty Images.

Jhulan Goswami: India Women Players Are Trying To Settle Combination And Create Options With An Eye To Upcoming WODI World Cup

Jhulan Goswami didn’t give a definitive answer on vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur’s batting position but indicated that a lot of options will be tried out before the World Cup in New Zealand next year.

“Well, we are trying to settle our combination. We are trying to create a few options. Now which options will click for us, we are (still) searching for that. Whatever things will happen (options we finalise), the management will take a call before the World Cup,” Goswami said on the eve of the second WODI against England.

“Before the World Cup, we are trying to settle down a few things. Hopefully, in the coming matches, the coming series, we will sort out all those things.”

File image of Jhulan Goswami | Andrew Couldridge/Reuters
File image of Jhulan Goswami | Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

According to Jhulan Goswami, young Shafali Verma shouldn’t be put under the immense pressure of expectation and the veteran pacer is confident that it’s just a matter of time before the middle-order batsmen will produce impact performances expected of them in the ongoing series against England.

“Well…It is just the first match for Shafali. Day before yesterday, she made her debut in ODI cricket. We are expecting so much from her because that is the impact she has had,” Goswami, world’s highest wicket-taker in women’s ODIs, wants everyone to cut some slack when it comes to analysing the performance of a teenager.

” We just need one good knock from one among the top 3. They will definitely score runs. Just these things happen in cricket,” Goswami said about the consumption of 180 dot balls.

“Every day is a new day, every day is a new learning experience. One good innings from the three. Harman(Kaur) needs one good knock, we know Harman can do it. One good knock is required from our middle-order,” the 38-year-old seamer said.

Harmanpreet Kaur managed only 1 off 7 deliveries. She failed in the preceding Test as well scoring 4 and 8.

Jhulan Goswami: Bowlers Need To Believe In Their Abilities And Comeback Strongly In Next Games

Jhulan Goswami also believes that as a bowling group, they need to believe in their abilities and come back strongly after England batswomen Tammy Beaumont and Natalie Sciver gave them a real pasting in the opening ODI with both batsmen scoring at a strike rate of 100. Jhulan Goswami and Ekta Bisht took a wicket apiece but the target wasn’t a substantial total that can be defended easily.

“Honestly speaking, we need to come back as a bowling group strongly. We have discussed a lot of things, hopefully we can sort it out and come back strongly. You have to believe in these bowlers, they are your best bowlers, they have the ability.”

Tammy Beaumont and Nat Sciver stitched an unbroken 119-run partnership PA Photos/Getty Images
Tammy Beaumont and Natalie Sciver stitched an unbroken 119-run partnership PA Photos/Getty Images

“Both of our medium-pacers Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, and we have another two pacers in the side, all are very good cricketers. Shikha is coming back from a break. Puja is playing after a long time. They are quality bowlers. They need a little bit of time, they will do well. They have won matches single-handedly for India. We just need to give them some time, they will come back strongly. I have a lot of confidence in them,” Jhulan signed off.

While Tammy Beaumont smashed 87 runs in 87 balls, Natalie Sciver hammered 74 runs in 74 runs as England women won the match in 34.5 overs. With the win, England took a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series. The 2nd match of the series will be played on Wednesday.

England 202 for 2 (Beamont 87*, Sciver 74*) beat India 201 for 8 (Raj 72, Raut 32, Ecclestone 3-40, Shrubsole 2-33, Brunt 2-35) by eight wickets

Sneh Rana took three wickets on the first day of her Test debut Getty Images
Sneh Rana took three wickets on the first day of her Test debut Getty Images
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England Women Resorted To Constant Sledging To Disturb Indian Women Team’s Concentration: Sneh Rana

England women players resorted to “constant sledging” to disturb the concentration of the Indian women team but they maintained their composure to pull off a thrilling draw for the Indian women’s team in the one-off Test here.

It was a tale of Indian women debutants as Shafali Verma (96 and 63), Deepti Sharma (3/65, 29* and 54), Taniya Bhatia (0 and 44*), Sneh Rana (4/131, 2 and 80*) and Pooja Vastrakar (1/53, 12 and 12) took the centre-stage to eke out a draw against England women after being followed-on in India’s first Test after seven years.

England Women Sledged A Lot, Says India's Savior Sneh Rana who first took four wickets, then played a match-saving knock of 80 not out in India's second innings. Courtesy: Twitter
England Women Sledged A Lot, Says India’s Savior Sneh Rana who first took four wickets, then played a match-saving knock of 80 not out in India’s second innings. Courtesy: Twitter

England Women Players Tried To Disturb Indian Women Players Who Were Unnerved

Needing two wickets in the final session, England women bowlers were on top and used all the tactics with close-in fielders and constant sledging but Sneh Rana and Taniya Bhatia remained unfazed.

“It was their job to disturb us, and they kept on doing so many things to achieve their goal,” Rana, who scripted a heroic act with Bhatia in their century-plus unbroken nine-wicket partnership, said at a virtual post-match conference on Saturday night.

India's Taniya Bhatia plays a shot during the one-off Test against England. — Reuters
India’s Taniya Bhatia plays a shot during the one-off Test against England. — Reuters

“We did not pay any attention and kept on talking to each other after every ball, be it from far or getting closer. It boosted us up. We just wanted to do it for our team. That was the only conversation we had in the middle.”

England women’s Sophie Ecclestone’s four wickets earlier in the day had England in a prime position to push for victory before an eighth-wicket partnership worth 41 runs between Sneh Rana and Shikha Pandey had India clinging on to the prospect of a draw at tea.

Sneh Rana, who on Test debut produced just the innings her side needed, reaching 80 not out off 154 balls to kill off any chance of the hosts sealing a result while Taniya Bhatia was unbeaten on 44 at stumps.

Sneh Rana And Deepti Sharma Opens Up On The One-Off Test

In her first match for India after five years, the spin allrounder Sneh Rana bowled 39.2 overs in the first innings before putting up the rescue-act batting at No 8.

“There was no nervousness. We just wanted to play our basics. There was sledging in the middle but we both decided to just focus on our batting and put in extra focus.I don’t think much and just keep myself busy. I didn’t want the situation to take over me so that I could play my natural game.”

Asked about missing a century on her Test debut, Rana said: “I didn’t think about the century. The team wanted me to stay so I was just playing ball-by-ball and contribute to the team.”

Sneh Rana remained unbeaten on 80 against England in the second innings
Sneh Rana remained unbeaten on 80 against England in the second innings (Courtesy: Reuters)

Promoted to No 3 after being unbeaten in the first innings, Deepti Sharma was steely in her partnership with Shafali Verma as she put in the foundation before England triggered a collapse. Indian women lost the momentum midway into the 2nd innings as they were staring on the brink of a defeat with the score at 199/7 before managing a respectable 344/8 following on.

“Actually, it was about starting all over again and play session by session. I always enjoy batting with Shafali, we know there will be sixes, boundaries anytime when she is playing.”

“I got a lot of confidence from my knock in the first innings, I just wanted to play close to my body in the second innings. I just played session-by-session,” Sharma said.

The England women and Indian women teams agreed to a draw at 6.13 pm local time with India 344 for 8 in their second innings following on, a lead of 179 runs, after Sneh Rana and Taniya Bhatia had combined for an unbroken stand of 104 for the 9th wicket.

India 231 (Verma 96, Mandhana 78, Ecclestone 4-88, Knight 2-7) and 344 for 8 (Rana 80*, Verma 63, Sharma 54, Bhatia 44*) (f/o) drew with England 396 for 9 declared (Knight 95, Dunkley 74*, Beaumont 66, Rana 4-131, Sharma 3-65)

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