Mithali Raj open to playing women's IPL, Jhulan Goswami rules out possibility at HT Leadership Summit 2022
During the 20th edition of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami ended their silence on the possibility of playing the inaugural edition of the Women's IPL next year.
Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami, the two stalwarts of Indian cricket, have resonated with the sport for so long that is it almost impossible to envision the two of them not playing the inaugural edition of the women's Indian Premier League next year. After the growing clamours of a IPL-like tournament for women, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), during the 91st Annual General Meeting (AGM) finally made the decision everyone had been eagerly waiting for – the women's IPL, which will not only provide an opportunity to the established stars to improve but also pave the way for several promising women cricketers to go head-to-head with some of the best women's cricket has to offer.
However, despite such a huge step from the BCCI, a big question mark hovers over Mithali and Jhulan's participation, both of whom announced their retirements earlier this year. Fans wish to see the two legends come out of retirement and lace their boots one final time as Indian women's cricket ushers into a new era, but are the two veteran stars convinced? During the 20th edition of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2022, Mithali and Jhulan ended their silence on the possibility.
"Well see, I have kept that open for a fact that if there is a thing... like lot many people have also told me that it is the first season of women's IPL and I should be part of it. So, let's see there is still some more time. There are few more months left for me to think whether I want to get in as a player or in any other capacity," Mithali said.
Meanwhile, Jhulan stated that she was done playing cricket, thus ruling out the possibility of playing the tournament in March next year. But having said that, Goswami lauded the move, and sounded confident that the start of the women's IPL will certainly change the landscapr of Indian women's cricket.
"Enough of long strides in the last 20 years, I have done more than 20 lakh strides probably but honestly speaking, definitely, it is a good thing for women's cricket. We all are looking forward to this because since the last 5-6 years, we have kept asking for this because this is the new generation of cricket. That is how Australia developed their cricket, that is how their grassroot level developed, that is how England cricket is growing so nicely," she said.
"So we also need for our domestic cricketers, I want to see our domestic cricketers have decent amount of facilities, decent amount of mindset and when they will go to international cricket, at least they should feel little confident and they should not feel that it will take 3-4 series to settle down and then you're playing so earlier we used to face those things. I think this gap will have to narrow and that is why I am so excited because I want to see... talent we have, we just want to gap that mental setback kind of stuff."
While Indian women's cricket has shown a steep rise in their performance, certain loopholes have been exposed, more so in big matches. The Indian women's team has often slipped in knockout games – be it the 2017 World Cup final or the Commonwealth Games gold medal final in June. To make the women more equipped to dealing with pressure situations, which their men counterpart has gotten so good at, the women's IPL could be a game-changer in Indian cricket.
"The key elements for me to have a women's IPL because I feel our domestic cricketers are not getting that amount of competitiveness. They are competitive among themselves but when they are playing against quality sides, somehow, I feel that they are not 100 percent at par with others. So we also have gone through, I have also gone through many world cups, many series, same thing I also felt. So I always feel that bridge needs to...we need to cut down those small years. Again, I feel that women's IPL will definitely change the face of women's cricket and I am really very much hopeful for that," mentioned Jhulan.