Mithali Raj is optimistic that the upcoming Women’s T20 Challenge will provide a platform for young Indian female cricketers to face-off against overseas players and improve their game.Raj, Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur will captain the three teams in the T20 Challenge that begins on Monday.
Indian women’s ODI skipper Mithali Raj, along with youngsters Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana are all set to lead the three women’s teams - Velocity, Supernovas and Trailblazers, respectively - in the Women’s T20 Challenge that is scheduled to begin on Monday. Raj, in particular, is excited at the prospect of young budding female cricketers going up against some of the biggest names in the sport from across the globe in the coming week.
“It is a step ahead.It offers an opportunity for our young players in domestic cricket to interact with some of the best in the world. When you get at least two games, you can field several youngsters. Competing with overseas players could benefit them.
“We must understand that to start something different, we need to start small. Last year, we had just one game and this year they have added one more team and it’s a one-leg tournament. Maybe by the next year we might have a league,” Raj said at the pre-tournament press conference.
Meanwhile, 2018 ICC Women’s cricketer of the year and India opener Smriti Mandhana, who is the captain of Trailblazers, said it would give India seniors a chance to play with juniors and see what they can offer ahead of the T20 World Cup in February 2020. Four matches will be played among the three teams captained by Raj, Kaur and Mandhana at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.
“It’s an ideal opportunity for seniors, like us, to play with younger players. With the T20 World Cup just 10 months away, we could assess which players would perform well under pressure,” Mandhana added.
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