A well-spread series comes to a close for the Indian women's cricket team against the mighty Australians. On papers, though the women in blue lost 5-11 in the scoreline of points, they played out an exceptional tournament with several promising performances in between. In a series comprising three ODIs, a one-off pink-ball Test and three T20s, India could win just a single ODI and drew the Test, the women shone as a cohesive unit of newcomers and veterans.
Mithali Raj's 63 in the first ODI, Smriti Mandhana's 86 in the second ODI, India ending Australia's ODI winning streak in the third game with Jhulan Goswami's magnificent bowling, Mandhan's spectacular maiden test century were some of the talking points that further supports India's prowess with talent in abundance.
With all the experience in their bags, eight Indian players will be ready to showcase their greatness once again when they open their campaign at the upcoming edition of Australia's Women Big Bash League (WBBL) starting on Thursday. Poonam Yadav, Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh, Shafali Verma, Radha Yadav, Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet Kaur will be in action during the Big Bash League 2021 season. Each of them has proved their worth as the hottest properties in international cricket.
While the skipper of Team India's T20 Women's team had made history back in 2016 by becoming the first-ever Indian cricketer (male or female) to have been signed by the Sydney Thunder WBBL team. This year Kaur will be playing for Melbourne Renegades along with Jemimah Rodrigues, who will be making her debut this season. Mandhana and Deepti are two good signings whom the defending champions Sydney Thunder will look up to. Both Verma and Radha will be making their debut in WBBL 2021 with Sydney Sixers and fans will be excited to see their performance in the opening game of the season. While Richa Ghosh will be debuting for Hobart Hurricanes, Poonam Yadav will play for Brisbane Heat.
Now that the strong Indian line-up would be a part of the WBBL, the question remains can India learn and replicate in a similar fashion having a full-fledged Women's IPL? There is a reason why Australian cricketers dominate, and it lies in their good systematic cricket, including their A-tours, international cricket, and of course WBBL, where they hone themselves playing with and against the best players from around the world. Indian players, on the contrary, don't get a similar set-up to play and mostly rely on international cricket.
One of the best examples that could be cited here is the case of Australian batter Tahlia McGrath, who scored 42 and 44 in the second and the third T20s against India. Surprisingly the player who made her international debut in 2016 and made a comeback last year played almost 30 WBBL Games, and an A tour against England. Her experience in playing highly competitive games was reflected when she almost fetched her side wins against India in the two t20s.
India need similar highly competitive tournaments which can simply amplify our players' confidence ahead of big tournaments like the World Cup. The BCCI has to look beyond the T20 Women's Challenge and think of a well-panned WIPL instead, which will leverage Indian players to hone their levels. Now that the WBBL will be a fresh way forward for the eight Indian players staying in a highly competitive environment, it should be a no-brainer that a Women's IPL can further improve our standards.