Harmanpreet Kaur created history in Indian women’s cricket, becoming the first from the country to be signed by the Women’s Big Bash League, a franchise-based T20 tournament in Australia. The Indian vice-captain was signed on by Sydney Thunders for the forthcoming season.
This is, no doubt, a big moment for Kaur, but it is highly unlikely that it would start a trend or give women’s cricket in India a boost, say former players.
“Yes, this is huge for Kaur. It is a big stage to showcase her skills. She is currently the best player in the team and she totally deserves it,” former India skipper Anjum Chopra told HT from New Delhi. “She has opened the doors for other women cricketers from India. You need someone to open the innings and Kaur has just done that.
“However, it won’t be right to think that women’s cricket in India will change all of a sudden because of it. Playing in Big Bash is going to help the individuals. If we want to see a change, then the Indian team has to consistently keep doing well in international events,” Chopra added.
Former India skipper Diana Eduljee has urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to start an IPL-like tournament for women
“Kaur is the first one and I am sure there will be many who would sign Indian players for the Women’s Big Bash League. And if Kaur clicks in Australia then she will receive more offers from leagues in England and elsewhere,” said Eduljee. “I would have, however, wanted the BCCI to plan something in the lines of IPL with lesser duration and teams. That will be crucial in developing women’s cricket in India.”
Eduljee, however, fears that if the players play too much of league cricket abroad, that could become counterproductive for the national side (perhaps the reason why the BCCI doesn’t give clearance to players to sign up for leagues abroad).
“It is a shame to see such poor quality of Test cricket from the West Indies,” said Eduljee. “See, all their top players are busy playing T20 cricket elsewhere in the world, but are unavailable for the national team. I fear that if our women’s cricketers go outside and play on a regular basis then our international performances may take a beating. And the players are also right in a way as they have to secure their future.”