Indian women’s cricket likely made more progress since 2019 than men: Sourav

"They were by far the best team in the Commonwealth Games", says the former India captain

Former India captain and BCCI president Sourav Ganguly (photo: National Herald archives)
Former India captain and BCCI president Sourav Ganguly (photo: National Herald archives)


Sourav Ganguly, former India captain and BCCI president, and current director of cricket with IPL (Indian Premier League) franchise Delhi Capitals, believes the progress made by women’s cricket in the country is more than that of the men’s team since 2019, especially if seen from the context of the Women’s Premier League (WPL).

"This is a huge tournament, and I am so happy to see where it went in the first year. This was always in our minds for quite some time, but couldn’t happen because of Covid. What it did for women cricketers is phenomenal. The progress that women’s cricket in India has made since 2019 is perhaps more than the men’s team," he said.

"The men’s team has always been very, very good. But from where the women’s team was to where they went — from winning the Asia Cup, the way they played in the World Cups, then the Commonwealth Games... They were by far the best team in the Commonwealth Games".

"To see them develop so much, Harmanpreet, Smriti, you name them, Richa, Jemimah, Shafali, the way they have progressed is impressive. When Jhulan finished, we wondered where the next seamer would come from, and then the way Renuka Thakur has developed over the last three years. So, that’s the best thing about women’s cricket," said Ganguly to JioCinema.

At the WPL auction on 9 December, Delhi bought Australia all-rounder Annabel Sutherland for Rs 2 crore after an intense bidding war. Explaining the logic behind the acquisition, Ganguly said, "We have heard good things about her. These small auctions are always like that. Very little spots to fill and there’s someone who’ll always break the bank. I feel so good for all of them. We saw another Indian go for a lot of money and that’s good for the game. The tournament last year was brilliant and as I said, things are only going to get better."

Delhi also brought back uncapped wicketkeeper-batter Aparna Mondal and also roped in all-rounder Ashwani Kumari for Rs 10 lakh each. “I think Ashwani Kumari is someone who they kept an eye on because she can hit the ball a long way and she bowls. We needed a back-up keeper, so we got another keeper. We had three slots to fill, we knew one will always be the most important one and we got Sutherland," added Sutherland.

Asked about how involved Meg Lanning was in auction strategy, Ganguly said, "She’s a big player in women’s cricket. She is huge for us. Her commitment last year was outstanding. Some of the stories you hear about her, about what she does in training, is really brilliant.

"She’s just 32 and she’ll be in a phase of her career where she will play and perform and be available to the franchise. A lot of players are going that way in modern-day cricket. She’s a fantastic captain from whatever little bit I’ve seen."

Ganguly, the former BCCI President, also thinks it's too early to predict if Delhi will go all the way to win WPL 2024 after being runners-up in the inaugural edition earlier this year. “It’s too early to say. Let the tournament start. T20 cricket, you never know which way it goes.”

"The best teams sometimes don’t get there. It’s about form, it’s about momentum, so till it doesn’t start you can’t say where a team finishes. But as I said, we played well last year and lost the final. Hopefully, we can continue the form."

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