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Women T20 Challenge

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

Smriti Mandhana, Trailblazers, Supernovas, Harmanpreet Kaur
Smriti Mandhana (Image Credit: IPL)
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Women’s T20 Challenge: I Felt 140 Was Enough – Smriti Mandhana

After they managed to score 140 runs in the first innings, Trailblazers’ captain Smriti Mandhana was confident of winning that match against Supernovas.

On Monday (6th May) night, Trailblazers and Supernovas met in the opening game of Women’s T20 Challenge 2019 at Jaipur. Mandhana played an impressive knock in the first innings that helped her team Trailblazers to manage 140/5 (20 overs).

Captain Mandhana scored 90 runs off 67 balls with the help of 10 fours and two sixes. She had an incredible 119-run partnership for the second wicket with another Indian youngster Harleen Deol.

Later, they won that match by just two runs as Supernovas managed to score 138/6 (20 overs).

Mandhana, who also won the Player of the Match award, was confident about their first innings total. She felt that the track was slower, so the 140 runs were enough to win that match.

In the post-match presentation ceremony, Mandhana said, “The wicket was on the slower side and I felt 140 was enough, we thought we had 15 runs as bonus in the end.”

Smriti Mandhana spoke about the last over of the match

However, it wasn’t a comfortable victory for Trailblazers. Though Supernovas were losing their wickets in regular intervals, their captain Harmanpreet Kaur fought brilliantly till the end.

After their hard fight, Supernovas needed to score 19 runs in the last over to win that match. In the 19th over, one of their set batters Sophie Devine (32 runs 22 balls) lost her wicket. While the experienced Indian pacer Jhulan Goswami bowled that last over, Harmanpreet hit four fours in the first five balls.

On the final ball of the match, Supernovas required three runs to win, but they failed to score that. Harmanpreet completely missed that last ball and then Trailblazers ran-out Lea Tahuhu.

Smriti Mandhana, Trailblazers, Supernovas, Harmanpreet Kaur
Trailblazers (Image Credit: IPL)

Talking about the thrilling final over, Mandhana quoted, “We wanted to have sweeper in and try and bowl the yorker, but she (Jhulan) wasn’t able to execute the yorkers and that’s when Suzie (Bates) came in and asked Jhulan to bowl wide of off stump. Our plan was to keep it wide and our spinners were excellent and it will really help us in the next game as well.”

In the end, Harmanpreet was not out on 46 runs off 34 balls (8 fours). Her incredible batting almost changed the result of the match. Mandhana felt annoyed to see that innings as an opposition captain on Monday night.

Smriti Mandhana, Trailblazers, Supernovas, Harmanpreet Kaur
Harmanpreet Kaur (Image Credit: Twitter)

Mandhana commented about Harmanpreet’s innings, “I have seen her do such stuff from the Indian dressing room but to see it from the opposition was really annoying.”

With this victory, Mandhana’s Trailblazers earned their crucial two points. In this tri-series, Trailblazers will play their next match against Velocity on Wednesday (8th May) afternoon at the same venue.

Women T20 Challenge, Australia, BCCI, CA
Getty Images/ICC
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Here is the Reason Why There are No Australian Players in Women T20 Challenge

Australian Women players have missed out in the upcoming Women T20 Challenge, scheduled by BCCI to promote Women cricket. The reason that the Australian players have missed out in the forthcoming tournament is the disagreement between the Board of Control for Cricket in India and Cricket Australia.

Meanwhile, Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt and Beth Mooney had played in 2018 when T20 challenge was played for the first time. However, all of them could not find the place in the three-team tournament.

Ellyse Perry
Ellyse Perry. (Photo Getty Images)

A disagreement between BCCI and CA.

Meanwhile, in 2018, there were only two teams in the Women T20 challenge, namely – Supernovas and Trailblazers. However, the Indian board has added another side in the tournament – Velocity.

The three-team tournament will begin from May 6 and the final will take place on May 11 at Jaipur. Meanwhile, the reason why there are no Australian players in the competition is the ODI series between India and Australia.

As per the reports in ESPNCricinfo, Australia’s men were scheduled to tour India for three-match ODI series in January 2020. However, Cricket Australia had requested to alter the dates of the tour as it would coincide with the Big Bash League season.

Here is the Reason Why There are No Australian Players in Women T20 Challenge 1
(Photo by Harry Trump-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)

Consequently, the big Australian players would need to miss the domestic T20 tournament. Furthermore, it would have deprived Australia of the home series against New Zealand. In fact, New Zealand is fine with its series getting postponed.

Meanwhile, the two boards were trying to get a solution and had exchanged emails with each other. However, they could not come to a mutual conclusion. Consequently, the BCCI did not name any Australian players in the three team’s squad, which was announced on Thursday. In fact, the Indian board has included players from England, West Indies, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Bangladesh.