Exclusive: Women's T20 Challenge a platform for aspiring cricketers, says WV Raman
Three teams – Supernovas, Trailblazers and Velocity – will vie for the honours in the tournament (November 4-9)
Indian women’s national team head coach WV Raman is keeping a close eye on the Women's T20 Challenge scheduled to start in Sharjah from Wednesday.
Three teams – Supernovas, Trailblazers and Velocity – will vie for the honours in the tournament (November 4-9).
Harmanpreet Kaur will lead the Supernovas while the Trailblazers will be led by Smriti Mandhana.
Mithali Raj, the leading run-scorer in women’s international cricket, will captain Velocity.
The third edition of the tournament will once again give young Indian players a chance to play with established international stars.
Naturally, Raman, the former Indian opening batsman, is delighted that the players will be back in action after the long Covid-19-enforced break.
In an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times, the Indian head coach explains how he is looking forward to the tournament and how excited he is to look at some upcoming talents in the sport.
How important is the Women's T20 Challenge for India's cricketers?
For the girls who have been a part of the Indian team in the preceding year, it will be a tournament to get back into some sort of rhythm after a long break, given that they have not played any competitive cricket since the T20 World Cup campaign in Australia. If you are to consider the larger picture, the women's challenger tournament will provide a platform for the aspiring cricketers to showcase their talent and gain some valuable experience.
Playing after a long time thanks to the Covid19 break, how difficult or easy will it be for girls?
In terms of fitness, they were constantly provided an individual training programme and their progress was constantly monitored. In fact, prior to assembling in Mumbai, the girls did a couple of fitness tests and the results of those tests were excellent. However, with regards to skills it remains to be seen because a gap of 7-8 months can be challenging to the best in the business. But having seen them in the nets over the last few days, they seem to be shaping up well and I am positive that the matches will be exciting and competitive.
Playing alongside some international players, how will it help young Indian cricketers?
It will provide them an opportunity to get a better understanding of different cricketing cultures and thought process. Obviously, they will get an insight about how the game is seen and played in other countries and enable them to also enhance their social skills as well.
For you as head coach, will the women's T20 Challenge provide you with an opportunity to look at a wide spectrum of talent?
Of course, it will. Besides, with a new selection committee in place, they will get to see the talent that is available, which will help them in planning the route map for the future. The BCCI must be lauded for consenting to include an under 19 girl in every squad, which is fantastic as interacting with accomplished cricketers and experienced coaches will facilitate quicker learning.
Do you see the Women's T20 Challenge growing in stature in years to come?
It is not far off when the women's challenger will graduate into a full-fledged IPL and hopefully become as big a brand as the men's IPL. Even though at the moment only three teams are figuring, this will inspire a lot of girls to take up the game as the BCCI has given enough indication that it wants to promote women's cricket in every way possible.
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