Indians in WBBL- An Article By Ashwin Jangam

If IPL is the best franchise cricket league in the world, WBBL is the best one for Women's cricket. Players who get to participate in this league get a good experience of playing with players from different countries playing together, eventually honing their skills. This year was no different. When Indian men cricketers are not given a chance to play in the league's outside India, female stars of India are not just participating but also making their mark with their dominating performance in these leagues.






The tournaments like the English Premier League, Hundred and WBBL have proved to be a boon to the players, and Indian players participating in the leagues have proved to be a boon for the leagues, in terms of popularity as well revenue. The first time an Indian was selected for any foreign league was when Indian T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur was selected in WBBL 2016. 5 years later, 8 Indians got selected for the league, and set the stage on fire with their performance, making it the highest number of Indian players participating in any league outside India.


The likes of Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Radha Yadav, Shafali Varma, Deepti Sharma, Poonam Yadav and Richa Ghosh played in the tournament. For some of them, it was the first time, and a chance to gain experience and to prove their mettle. For a few others, it was their experience that was going to be helpful for the teams they played for. And eventually, all of it happened. Women in Blue either came out with flying colours for their team or gained fruitful experience from the senior members of their team which comprised of international stars.





The star of the tournament was the skipper of the Indian side, Harmanpreet Kaur. Playing for Melbourne Renegades, she displayed her all-around skills and turned out to be the x-factor for the team amassing 399 runs and scalping 15 wickets. Her powerful sixes, her boundaries and her wicket-taking abilities helped her team win many close encounters. She was awarded the prestigious Woman of the Tournament award for her stellar performances in the entire tournament.


Another batter who made her name in the history books of WBBL was the elegant Smriti Mandhana. The left-hander continued to do perform her duties for Sydney Thunders just like she does for Women in Blue. Her effortless straight lofted drives, her mesmerizing cover drives did just the right thing for her team. Her score of 114 is the combined highest score in the history of WBBL. But she lost the same match while chasing because her Indian counterpart Harman denied her 13 runs in the last over. However, the season was great for the queen of modern-day cricket Smriti as she amassed 377 runs in 13 matches.


Sydney Thunders had another Indian, Deepti Sharma in their team along with Smriti. Her all-around performance was a bonus for her team, just like it is for India. She always likes to contribute to all three departments, and she did it. Scoring 211 runs, and taking 13 wickets in 13 matches, she also saved a good amount of runs for the team with her fielding. Jemimah Rodrigues, who played alongside Harman for Melbourne Renegades had an amazing season where she continued her form from Hundred and India Australia series. She scored 333 crucial runs in 13 matches with 75 being her highest.


Sydney Sixers has 2 new Indian youngsters who debuted in WBBL, Shafali Varma and Radha Yadav. The explosive Indian batswoman, Shafali was extremely excited to share the opening with Alyssa Healy, under the leadership of Ellyse Perry. Scoring a fifty in the season, she scored 151 runs overall and provided the right explosive start required. Radha Yadav scalped 9 wickets in the 12 matches she played, choking the flow of runs of opposite teams time and again. Both, Radha And Shafali were exceptional in the field and held one-handed blinders in the season. Radha's catch was by far the best catch of the tournament according to me.


Apart from these stars, 2 Indian stars played for Hobart Hurricanes and Brisbane Heat. The Indian wicket-keeper batter Richa Ghosh, playing for Hobart Hurricanes scored 162 runs and played important cameos for the team. She was also involved in an almost impossible looking runout that took the cricketing world by storm. Brisbane Heat was highly benefitted by the Indian stalwart Poonam Yadav, who scalped 10 wickets in 12 matches. She lifted the morale of her team giving them crucial breakthroughs, and her teammates lifted him every time they celebrated her wicket.


All in all, every one of the 8 Indian players made their presence felt in the tournament. The domination of Women in Blue was visible throughout the tournament. This has helped the Aussie viewers and WBBL viewers to know more about these Indian stalwarts. Also, the presence of Indian stars made Indians view WBBL, increasing the viewership and popularity of the league even further. With the increased confidence, Women in Blue would love to enter the T20 world cup in style. And every cricket fan, after seeing the Indians performing outside the country would hope to see a Women's IPL, where these stars increase the confidence of other cricket playing girls in the country.


Author:- Ashwin Jangam (Cricket Analyst, Host, Poet, Entertainer )



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