India all-rounder Deepti Sharma, currently plying her trade in her maiden Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) season in Australia, called for a women’s Indian Premier League (IPL) adding the BCCI is working actively to that end.
“There should be an IPL, just like there is one for men. We have a domestic T20 tournament, but if we have an IPL there will be more competition. I think the BCCI is working in overdrive to organise a WIPL. The quicker it is done the better it will be for women’s cricket,” she said during a virtual media interaction.
The 24-year-old had big shoes to fill for defending champion Sydney Thunder after England captain and star all-rounder Heather Knight decided to skip the tournament. Sharma repaid the faith shown in her by coach Trevor Griffin, scoring the third most runs (156) for her franchise while taking the second highest number of wickets (10). However, Thunder’s title defence has been far from ideal, and it sits seventh on the eight-team table with just three wins from 11 matches.
Sharma credited the clarity in player roles and the relative lack of pressure of franchise cricket, compared to that of representing the national team, for her good run in the T20 league down under.
“The players are assigned roles and you know about your batting and bowling positions which makes it easier to perform. You get a sense of freedom which allows you to give your best,” she said.
The left-handed batter has been tasked with the role of a finisher and has reconfigured her mind to think like one. “My thought process is always to take the match as close as possible, finish the game and remain not out,” she said.
A team player to the core who has batted from one-drop all the way down to number nine and rolled her arm in different phases of a match for India, Sharma made no bones about her preference for batting higher up in the order. “I like batting in the top order. I can play freely and have the time to settle in and can maximise my contribution for the team, but I am agreeable to batting anywhere depending on the situation,” she said, adding that she particularly enjoyed the challenge of bowling in the PowerPlay.
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Sharma has her eyes on the women’s Cricket World Cup scheduled to be held in March 2022 and is keen on leveraging her WBBL experience for the showpiece event. “We are playing with players who will participate in next year’s World Cup, so we know their strengths and weaknesses. This makes it easier for us to understand them and will help us in our preparation,” she said.
Eight Indians are in action at the WBBL this year and Sharma believes that increased participation in such high-level leagues will raise cricketing standards in the country.
(Watch Deepti Sharma from Sydney Thunder in action in the Women's Big Bash League LIVE on Sony Six channels)
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