The phrase “Better late than never” aptly applies to the Women’s Premier League (WPL). Over the past decade and a half, cricket enthusiasts in India have predominantly focused on men’s franchise cricket. However, now the level of entertainment is set to increase manifold as women cricketers from across the globe will compete as part of five teams, illuminating Mumbai city. The WPL’s inaugural match, featuring Beth Mooney’s Gujarat Giants and Harmanpreet Kaur-led Mumbai Indians Women, promises to be an exciting encounter at the DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai on Saturday.
Anjum Chopra reacts before Mumbai Indians vs Gujarat Giants match
The BCCI has created the WPL, a women’s cricket league after many fans asked for it. The IPL, which started in 2008, was an important moment for Indian cricket and has since grown a lot. The Women’s Premier League is expected to have a similar impact. Before the first game of the season, Anjum Chopra, who used to be India’s captain, spoke to some journalists. She said that it’s a unique experience, so people should prepare themselves and have fun.
“It’s been a long journey. Finally, the league is happening, the first toss will happen between two franchises of the league… so, yes! It’s a very different feeling from where the sport has come about, from where I started playing cricket. And even who started playing years before me; from there on till today, it’s been a long journey. Just sit back and enjoy the ride,”
When a new league starts, it can be difficult because there are many new problems to solve. This is also true for top players like Harmanpreet Kaur(Mumbai Indians) and Smriti Mandhana(RCB), who need to learn to play well with teammates from different places in India and other countries.
“The challenge is always going to be for the players, especially for Indian players at home. This is a professional sport where you are contracted for a certain amount and everything is relatively new. So, the more the players play, the more they adapt to the conditions. It’s going to be challenging for everyone,”
The WPL, like the IPL, is an opportunity for young cricketers to play with famous players like Meg Lanning, Beth Mooney, Harmanpreet, and Smriti. These young players may not have ever imagined that they would play on the same team as them.
Opportunity for younger women around the world
“But a bigger and brighter picture I could see – just look for an Under-19 player,”
“For example, I played for Delhi U-19 and then for the North Zone, if that could happen. In 2023, I’m winning an Under-19 World Cup and getting into franchise cricket and then rubbing shoulders with Meg Lanning, Beth Mooney, Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana! It’s a big thing for them. If you ask them, they wouldn’t have thought to be here in this situation right now. So, it will be challenging, that is what sport is all about,”
‘I see Mumbai Indians as stronger on paper,’ says Anjum Chopra
Anjum talked about her favorite team for the WPL 2023 opener before leaving. She thinks Harmanpreet’s Mumbai Indian team looks strong on paper, but she heard that Gujarat’s team had some bad news because Deandra Dottin couldn’t play. Anjum hopes the tournament will start off really well.
“I see Mumbai Indians as stronger on paper. And Gujarat Giants have suffered a blow – Deandra Dottin has been ruled out and Kim Garth has replaced her. The contest pits Harman against Beth Mooney so I hope, it should be a great game,”
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