Parth Jindal is not new to cricket auctions. Being the chairman and co-owner of Delhi Capitals, he has been part of several auctions now - be it the Indian Premier League or the overseas leagues.
But on Monday, it was a new experience for him as Delhi Capitals was among the five franchises who were part of the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL) auction. While the franchises had to ‘rush’ to get things in order within two weeks, Jindal was happy with the way the auction panned out for the franchise.
Delhi Capitals roped in some big names - Meg Lanning, Jemimah Rodrigues and Shafali Verma, who often reminds Jindal of Virender Sehwag for her fearless brand of cricket.
In a chat with Sportstar, Jindal revealed the reason behind owning a WPL team and also spoke about the road ahead.
Your thoughts on the auction…
It went off wonderfully. It was very well organised in a short time frame. The teams came extremely well prepared and it went really well. It was not different from the men’s IPL as the team’s were very well prepared.
Delhi Capitals has Ricky Ponting, Sourav Ganguly as their key coaching staff for the men’s IPL. Were their suggestions taken before coming into the WPL auction?
I spoke to Dada (Ganguly) about everything related to cricket. He is my childhood hero. I asked him about it and he recommended Jonathan Batty, Hemlata Kala and Mithu Mukherjee (as support staff). We also brought in Lisa Keightley, who could not be here today. There was a robust interview process that was conducted. Not only Dada, we also consulted Venugopala Rao, who’s also joined the family as an advisor to the GMR Group. It was great. We interviewed everyone and then Jonathan was selected as he had great success at The Hundred, The Big Bash as well. We really liked meeting him.
Now that you have a balanced squad, is there a clarity on who’s going to lead Delhi Capitals in the WPL?
Not yet. We will absorb everything and let the coach decide that once he gets the squad assembled. We will announce it before the season begins.
While some of the IPL teams stayed away from the WPL, Delhi Capitals decided to own a team. What was the idea behind having a team in the new tournament?
It’s a long-term investment. If you look at the popularity of women’s sport across the world - be it the Women’s Premier League, the WNBA - the women’s game has grown leaps and bounds. If you even look at women’s tennis, its popularity, too, has grown by leaps and bounds.
In Indian cricket, this is one section - the women and the girls - which is still not tapped to its full potential. Even if I look at the men’s IPL fan base, there’s always more that we need to do with this part of the population and they are 50 per cent of the country’s population. Then, why should they not play cricket?
Why shouldn’t they become crorepatis and play for India? Why shouldn’t they dream of playing in a packed crowd? If Delhi Capitals can be part of this journey, this story, I think it completes our franchise in many ways. It forces us to do more with our youth academies, it allows us to have girls U-15, U-13, U-11 teams and it’s overall fantastic for the game. It makes it more popular and strengthens the game’s drive to become an Olympic sport and it’s great to be part of it.
What was the reason behind not picking too many India U-19 players?
We went for a couple more. We got England’s Alice Capsey and also a few Indians. It was part of the auction strategy, keeping in mind the fact that we want to win the league.
The men’s IPL is just a month and a half away, has a decision been taken on who would replace Rishabh Pant as the captain? There was a buzz that David Warner could be given the captaincy role?
He’s an option. There are many options. We will take a call when they come together.
Even though Pant would be out of action, how does the franchise plan to be with him in these times of crisis?
We are in touch with Rishabh. This is his family and he knows that. We are providing him with all the support that we can. Since he is in Mumbai, if he wants to come and be part of the dug out during the IPL or WIPL and watch a few games, we would be happy to welcome him. Even if he needs a break from the game and needs a mental detox, we support that. We wish all the best for him.
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