The Women’s Premier League auction is just around the corner but India are firmly focussed on their T20 World Cup opener against Pakistan as they aim to emulate the U19 girls’ title-winning feat, insisted skipper Harmanpreet Kaur.
The WPL action is slated to be held on February 13 in Mumbai, a day after India’s T20 World Cup opener against Pakistan.
“Before that [the auction], we have a very important game and we are just going to focus on that,” Harmanpreet said at the T20 World Cup captains’ press conference.
“The World Cup is more important than anything else. Our focus is on the ICC trophy. These things will keep coming, and as a player, you know what’s important for you and how you need to keep your focus.
“We are all mature enough and know what is important for us,” she added.
Led by Shafali Verma, the Indian team won the inaugural U19 T20 World Cup last month and the senior side wants to add another ICC title in India’s trophy cabinet.
“After watching the U19 World Cup, we are motivated to do what they have done. They have motivated us to do well, they have done it and we have not done it yet,” Harmanpreet said.
“It was a very special moment for all of us and after watching the U19s many of the girls back home will also want to play cricket and that’s always our aim to motivate young girls who can come and play cricket.” The flamboyant Indian skipper hoped that the WPL will play a similar role in contributing to the growth of Indian women’s cricket like the Women’s Big Bash and The Hundred have done in Australia and England.
“It’s a really big day for all of us because we have been waiting for years and years now. The next two or three months are very important for women’s cricket. We have seen how the WBBL and the Hundred have helped their countries improve their cricket. Hopefully, the same will happen for our country.” Having played in the Kia Super League, WBBL and Hundred, Harmanpreet is keen to see Indian youngsters getting the opportunity to rub shoulders with international stars.
“That is something which has a very different feeling. When I got that opportunity, it was the biggest life-changing moment. Other girls will also experience this. It will be a great opportunity to improve cricket and grow the game.”
‘Auction during the WC will be awkward’
New Zealand skipper Sophie Devine and her Australian counterpart Meg Lanning feel the WPL auction being held in the first week of the T20 World Cup will be awkward.
Devine labelled it the “elephant in the room” as she feels players will struggle to not think about it.
All Indians competing in the T20 World Cup, which starts on Friday, and several internationals players have put in their names for the WPL auction.
“It’s going to be awkward … some people are going to get picked up, some won’t, and you’re going to get a value attached to what you’re worth, which as human beings isn’t the nicest thing, but it’s also a job and it’s what we’ve put our names in for,” Devine said.
“It’s such a unique experience, I think you’d be naive to think that it’s not going to be a distraction, it’s just how you handle that. But I just think it’s such an enormous step forward for women’s cricket and I’m really looking forward to it (but) there’s a World Cup going on at the same time, so how we manage that is (going to be important).” Lanning reiterated Devine’s thoughts.
“As Soph said, it’s a little bit awkward, but it’s just trying to embrace that and understanding it’s actually a really exciting time and you actually don’t have a lot of control over most of it, so you’ve just got to wait and see.
The entire Australian 15-member World Cup squad has registered for the auction. Up to seven overseas players, of which one must be from an Associate nation, can be picked per team.
“It’s a new experience for us and at the same time we are focusing on what we’re trying to do here which is the most important thing.
“There’s no right or wrong way to do that and everyone individually will deal with it as they wish.
“I think it’s important that you’re always working as a team, but also letting people deal with it how they feel is best,” Lanning added.