A round-robin tournament of Women’s T20 Challenge is all set to start from May 6 in Jaipur. Veteran Mithali Raj thinks this tournament will give the platform to young players which help them to grow as a cricketer. Last year, BCCI took the initiative and hosted a one-off exhibition match. However, this year they took one step further and organised a small tournament. Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana will lead the three sides — Velocity, Supernovas and Trailblazers, respectively there.
“It offers an opportunity for our young players in domestic cricket to interact with some of the best in the world. When you get at least two games, you can field several youngsters. Competing with overseas players could benefit them,” said Mithali Raj, in the pre-match press conference
“We must understand that to start something different, we need to start small. Last year, we had just one game and this year they have added one more team and it’s a one-leg tournament. Maybe by the next year we might have a league,” she further added.
However, she is hopeful that BCCI might start a full-fledged league after this tournament.
“Currently, it’s like testing waters as we need to see how people reciprocate and how teams perform. It’s important for us to perform well to grab eyeballs and attract more people to watch our matches. That will, probably, encourage the BCCI or the franchises to come forward to start a proper league,” Mithali Raj said.
However, Smriti Mandhana thinks this tournament will help the juniors to grow and the seniors could look at their performances prior to the mega event- ICC World T20 in 2020.
“It’s an ideal opportunity for seniors, like us, to play with younger players. With the T20 World Cup just 10 months away, we could assess which players would perform well under pressure,” Mandhana said.
However, Harmanpreet praised the selection of venue, saying “It has improved a lot since we last played here four-five years ago.” “The wicket looks good for T20 cricket. We have seen teams making good scores in the IPL,” she added.
The tournament has included 12 overseas players around the globe, 4 in each team. The final will be played on May 11 between the top two teams in the point table.