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Women's Cricket

Having Ashleigh Gardner as captain will be a boost for Gujarat Giants: Dayalan Hemalatha

Ashleigh Gardner, the Player of the Match in the T20 World Cup semifinal against India, is set to be announced as Gujarat Giants captain in the WPL.

Having Ashleigh Gardner as captain will be a boost for Gujarat Giants: Dayalan Hemalatha

Ashleigh Gardner (right) in action against India in the T20 World Cup (Getty)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 24 Feb 2023 1:24 PM GMT

Ashleigh Gardner and Beth Mooney of Australia broke many Indian hearts during the T20 World Cup semifinal on Thursday. Gardner scored a quickfire 31 and took two wickets with the new ball while Mooney's 54 was the highest score of the match.

But even as hearts broke for the Indian team, Gujarat Giants all-rounder Dayalan Hemalatha found some reason to smile, thinking how the Australian duo will combine in the Women's Premier League (WPL) for her team.

"I think Ashleigh Gardner will be the captain of the Gujarat team. Having her and Beth Mooney, two of the stars of the Australian team, play for us will be a big boost. I think other teams will have that factor in their minds when facing us," Hemalatha said.

All-rounder Gardner, who was the Player the Match in the semifinal, is now the highest earning women's cricketer in the world apart from Smriti Mandhana. She is the leading contender to be officially announced as captain for the league, which starts on March 4.

"What I am looking forward to most in the WPL is to share the dressing room with the overseas players. I want to learn their mindsets. I have played against Australia, West Indies, England before, so it's not like I'll be seeing them for the first time. I'm sure there will be a healthy exchange," Hemalatha said on eve joining the Gujarat Giants practice camp.

Hemalatha, a middle order batter who bowls useful overs of spin in T20s, was part of the winning team in all three women's T20 domestic tournaments this season - for Railways in Senior T20 Trophy, for Central Zone in Interzonal Trophy and for India-D in Challenger Trophy.

The 28-year-old has been part of the Indian team in the past but has not been part of the squad for the last three months.

"The WPL will help our performances get more noticed because of the platform it will provide. We still do not have enough age-group domestic cricket, at the U19, U23 levels," Hemalatha said.

And she is sure that a big performance against Royal Challengers Bangalore can bring that moment of fame.

"I want to beat RCB the most because they are the most star-studded unit, they have such big names," she said of the Smriti Mandhana-led side, which also features stars like Ellyse Perry and Heather Knight.

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