Former India captain Anjum Chopra is a bit disappointed that most franchises have opted for foreign players in leadership roles in the inaugural WPL (Women’s Premier League), saying capable Indian players should have been handed the responsibility.
The WPL begins on Saturday with a clash between Gujarat Giants and Mumbai Indians in the opening match at the Dr. DY Patil Sports Academy here.
“I didn’t like that most of the teams have opted for foreign players as captains because it’s an Indian league and will be played in Indian conditions, so Indian players should have been captains if they have capabilities,” she said.
Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore opted for Indian captains in Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana respectively, while the other teams went with Australian players - Meg Lanning (Delhi Capitals), Beth Mooney (Gujarat Giants) and Alyssa Healy (UP Warriorz) in leadership roles.
“I thought Deepti Sharma should have been made the captain as she led in the last Women’s T20 Challenge,” Chopra said in a virtual interaction.
Chopra, however, agreed that six-time T20 World Cup winner Australia has more experienced players compared to India.
“Australian players are world champions and they have the experience of leading sides back home. I completely agree with their (Australian players) experience (at the international stage), and so Jemimah Rodrigues can’t become a captain ahead of Meg Lanning in the same team (Delhi Capitals). If I look at the big picture, the Indian players don’t have much captaincy potential like Australian players.”
The 45-year-old cricketer-turned-commentator feels the performances of rookie domestic players will be the key factor as foreign players are already known entities.
“The challenge is always going to be for Indian players because you are playing a franchise tournament at home. This is a professional sport, you are contracted for a certain amount. Everything is relatively new, the more the players play, the more they will learn to adapt to situations. I definitely feel that how the domestic players will fit in and start contributing will be key.”
Chopra said it will be a great chance for the domestic players to rub shoulders with the greats of the game and make a statement.
“...the bigger picture I am looking at is about a U-19 player, coming straightaway from winning a U19 World Cup and getting an entry into franchise cricket where you will get the chance to rub shoulders with the likes of Meg Lanning, Beth Mooney, Harmanpreet Kaur.
“For them, it is such a big thing so we have to see how Indian domestic players perform, foreign players we know, but we don’t know what Indian domestic players will do.”
Chopra feels the WPL will be a game-changer for Indian women’s cricket.
“It’s been a long journey but to see finally that the league is happening was a nice and different feeling. It’s not about beating Australia, it’s about first becoming better as an individual, then only we can come together in a team environment. Australia, England, and New Zealand are teams which have been challenging Indian cricket for years, so a tournament like this will definitely help,” she said.
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