‘The earlier it happens, the more it will help us’: Deepti Sharma joins chorus for women’s IPL

Team India all-rounder Deepti Sharma, who plays for the Sydney Thunder in the WBBL, has called for a women’s Indian Premier League to begin as early as possible.
India all-rounder Deepti Sharma  (Reuters)
India all-rounder Deepti Sharma  (Reuters)
Updated on Nov 17, 2021 09:19 AM IST
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ByRishabh Gupta

The year 2021 has been relatively significant for Indian women’s cricket. The side produced stunning performances in the two Tests against England and Australia – both away, with the latter being India women's first-ever Pink Ball Test. A host of Indian players also participated in franchise tournaments like The Hundred and the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), helping in further exposure at the highest level of competition.

While Indian women cricketers light up the WBBL, calls for a similar franchise tournament in India continue to grow. Team India all-rounder Deepti Sharma, who features for Sydney Thunder in the Australian T20 league, is the latest player to join the chorus in support of ‘Women's Indian Premier League’.  

"Yes, it (women’s IPL) should definitely happen. Because there are so many leagues outside like the Big Bash and The Hundred. (Kia) Super League also used to take place earlier. All these leagues provide a much-needed platform for girls. We get more matches which help us groom better,” Deepti told Hindustan Times in a media interaction. 

Also Read | 'Proud' Radha Yadav banks on WBBL success to change Team India's fortune at upcoming World Cup

Currently, the BCCI organises the Women’s T20 Challenge which usually takes place in a six-day window, running parallel with the knock-out stages of the men’s IPL. In the 2020 season, three teams participated in the tournament which had four games including the final. The 2021 edition was cancelled owing to COVID-19 pandemic.

Indian opener Smriti Mandhana, who plays alongside Deepti for the Thunder, had said last week that an eight-team IPL will add “a lot of depth” to the women’s cricket structure in the country. Deepti, resonating the views of her fellow teammate, insisted that a full-fledged franchise tournament in India will add to the competitive aspect of the women’s game in India.  

"A Women’s IPL needs to happen, just like men's IPL. There is a domestic tournament, yes, but if there's a women's IPL, there will be more competition. BCCI is also working relentlessly for the same. The earlier it happens, the more it will help us because there will be more matches to play,” Deepti said.

‘Like batting in the top order'

Deepti began her international career as a top-order batter, but gradually settled in the middle/lower-middle order over the years. In the WBBL, she initially batted at 7/8 positions before being promoted to number five/six. The all-rounder, however, says that batting at top-order allows her to play ‘freely’.

On being asked whether she find it comfortable to bat in the lower-middle order, Deepti said, “It depends on what the team demands from a player. But I like batting in the top-order. I play more freely at the top. A player needs time to settle on the crease. So, in that way, I can play better at the top. And as you may have seen in the past, I've performed well in the top order for both, India and in domestic cricket." 

"But at the same time, it also depends on what the team needs. You play according to the situation. I'm comfortable in any position,” said the Team India cricketer.

Deepti has so far had an impressive WBBL outing, which also is her maiden appearance in the tournament, with 10 wickets so far in as many games (second-highest for her side), and 156 runs with the bat (unbeaten in four innings).

"The way I had played in the first match, till the last game we played, I think my performances were decent. The team's outings were inconsistent, yes, as we had lost back-to-back games and then, suddenly, we made a comeback. I think my performance was good in all three departments and I would like to continue in a similar way in the next few games as well,” said the all-rounder.

Deepti will be next seen in action in the game against Melbourne Renegades on November 17.  

All the games of the WBBL will be aired live on Sony SIX channels. 

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022