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Women's Cricket

WPL: Saika Ishaque knows her game very well - Sophie Ecclestone

Saika Ishaque of Mumbai Indians leads the wicket-taking charts in the Women's Premier League with 12 wickets in four matches.

WPL: Saika Ishaque knows her game very well - Sophie Ecclestone

Saika Ishaque (Source: WPL/Twitter)



Updated: 13 March 2023 12:42 PM GMT

UP Warriorz and England left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone has heaped praise on uncapped India and Mumbai Indians tweaker Saika Ishaque, who has lit up the Women's Premier League with 12 wickets in only four matches, saying she knows her game very well.

Ishaque led Mumbai Indians to a big win on Sunday night against UP Warriorz, after the opposition threatened to run away with the game, taking 3/33 to take her wickets tally far ahead of any of her peers in the league.

World No. 1 ODI bowler, Ecclestone, who is behind the Indian left-arm spinner Ishaque with eight wickets in four matches of WPL, is all praise for her opponent. "She is doing great, she has been around for a lot of years and played a lot of cricket. She knows her game so well and she got along with us during the game and it has been very exciting for her," Ecclestone told PTI during an exclusive interview on Monday.

The England spinner, who has so far played 70 T20Is, 55 ODIs and five Tests for her country, says her side UP Warriorz have plenty of room for improvement after a mixed start – two wins and two losses from four matches – to the WPL. "I think the feeling about it is that it has been scratchy in all our games. There is still a lot to improve in this group. We have not bowled our best yet and that is definitely a place where we can improve and hopefully in the next few games we start peaking at the right time in the competition," she said.

"It has been a really enjoyable stint so far. We have got a great group at UP (Warriorz). We obviously are a new franchise and we have to see how things work. I think it is very exciting to have the WPL here. "I have played in a few competitions around the world and I think it is about soaking in philosophy," Ecclestone added.

The 23-year-old Ecclestone named Kiran Navgire and Devika Vaidya as two players who have been the most impressive for her in the WPL. "I will say Kiran Navgire is one player for me after that fifty in that game (53 versus Gujarat Giants). She knows what she is trying to do, just go all-out, which is great. She has got no fear which is exactly how I want to play cricket.

"Devika (Vaidya) has been great playing for us freely, opening batting with Healy. She is in a new role and hopefully they can continue to keep impressing," Ecclestone said. The left-arm spinner was also full of praise for her captain Alyssa Healy, saying, "I played with her for the (Sydney) Sixers and in the Big Bash and now here. She is a great captain and she puts herself down saying she is not the best captain but she has got a lot of knowledge of the game and I am all praise for her."

Ecclestone said the schedule for the inaugural edition of WPL has been testing for the players with the entire tournament being held across two venues in Mumbai.

"Obviously it has a very busy schedule. There are a lot of games. I would love to start travelling India with the WPL, that will be exciting. They just got us here, started playing in Mumbai and hopefully it (WPL) keeps growing and continuing," she said.

One of the most parsimonious bowlers on the circuit, Ecclestone says there is no secret behind her impressively low economy rates. "To be honest there is really no secret. I think for me it is just about keeping it simple and enjoying my cricket. I want to keep it simple in any form that I am playing and keep making the batter play and use my pace," she added.

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