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Women's Cricket

'Smriti Mandhana confident of her leadership': RCB coach Luke Williams

Ahead of the Women's Premier League (WPL), Indian batter Smriti Mandhana is confident of her captaincy duties at RCB.

Smriti Mandhana confident of her leadership: RCB coach Luke Williams

Smriti Mandhana (Source: RCB/Twitter)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 24 Feb 2024 11:55 AM GMT

Premier Indian batter and captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore, Smriti Mandhana is in seamless sync with her duty of being captain and main batter for her side ahead of the second season of Women's Premier League.

RCB's new head coach Luke Williams asserted the same ahead of RCB's opening match of WPL 2024 against UP Warriorz.

Smriti was struggling in the first season as she could only manage 149 runs in eight matches with a poor average of 18 and a strike rate of 119. The team also didn't perform great and failed to make it to the playoffs.

"She's practicing well. She's in a confident and happy space with her cricket and the leadership. There's responsibility with captaining and opening the batting. But she's got plenty of support from the team with lots of experienced seniors to help her and trying to separate the two roles," said Williams on Friday, a day ahead of RCB's opening WPL 2024 match against UP Warriorz.

The RCB had finished fourth in the five-team league last season, and Williams said under the leadership of Mandhana the team looked much more settled this time.

Williams has coached Smriti in Southern Brave (the Hundred Team) where he was having the role of assistant coach.

"I've been fortunate to have spent a fair bit of time with Smriti through my involvement at the Southern Brave (the Hundred team) as an assistant coach and we've had lots of conversations around the learnings and experiences from last (WPL) season both as a team and individual. I "think we've taken on board some of those learnings (from the previous year)," he said.

Williams said Mandhana and other senior players in the side have been working with young cricketers in the RCB fold to create a confident atmosphere.

"This time Smriti and others have invested time with our players, and our senior players have been fantastic working with our young players and getting to know them and everyone is starting to feel comfortable and confident in the environment. We're looking forward to taking those learnings into this year," said Williams.

Williams, an experienced T20 coach who has a Women's Big Bash title under his belt with Adelaide Strikers, said this time the RCB has good options in pace and spin departments.

RCB had a 10-day camp here in the run-up to the WPL, and Williams said the team managed to tick some boxes during the confab.

"It was about investing a lot of time in particular scenarios that we think they are going to play individually, but also what they may face in the tournament with different game situations – whether it's run rates or whether we think someone's going to bat against spin bowling or their ability to bowl against left-hand batters, we've been quite specific with our targets,” said Williams.

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