'I don't know anything about cricket': Sania Mirza reveals chat with RCB which made her agree to mentor role in WPL 2023
Having raised eyebrows, RCB's Sania Mirza explained the decision to appointed her as team mentor for WPL 2023.
The inaugural season of Women's Premier League (WPL) 2023 will begin on Saturday, as Gujarat Giants take on Mumbai Indians in the season opener, at the Dr DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. The WPL 2023 auction saw plenty of big purchases with opener Smriti Mandhana becoming the most expensive player. The India batter was purchased by Royal Challengers Bangalore for ₹3.4 crore. Aussie all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner became the second-most expensive player with GG dishing out ₹3.2 crore.
All five franchises will play four home and four away matches in the league stage. After the league phase, the top-three teams will qualify for the next round which will also see the table-topper book a direct spot in the final. Meanwhile, the third and fourth-placed sides will face each other in the Eliminator match for a berth in the final.
RCB also roped in retired tennis star Sania Mirza as team mentor, which raised a few eyebrows. A key role in the setup, many fans felt that the franchise should have brought in a former cricketer. Speaking to India Today, Mirza explained that even she was surprised when RCB approached her, but revealed the logic behind the decision.
"I think I love to be involved in sports. When this opportunity with RCB came up, it's actually a mentorship, my first answer was 'I don't really know anything about cricket'. I have been around cricket but I don't know anything about cricket", she said.
"You can't know things without playing them well. I don't really know much about cricket. I can watch it, I am a great spectator.
"But, I think, the conversation that we had was interesting. They said I would be working with young girls. Young girls, who are probably for the first time facing this kind of spotlight with the kind of money riding on them, the kind of pressure. A lot of the girls haven't really faced that ever. I have faced that for the last 20 years of my life and they were like 'we just want you to help them cope with that'. That was such a brilliant idea for me as well", she further added.
As explained by Sania, RCB's move could prove to be hugely beneficial for the players. Other than Mandhana, the franchise also paid ₹1.9 crore for India's rising star Richa Ghosh, ₹1.7 crore for Aussie all-rounder Ellyse Perry and ₹1.5 crore for Renuka Singh. The franchise are considered to be one of the favourites in the tournament and will open their campaign on Sunday.
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