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WIPL Has Helped Women’s Cricket Gain Popularity: Harmanpreet

Cricketnext Staff |July 29, 2019, 4:33 PM IST
WIPL Has Helped Women’s Cricket Gain Popularity: Harmanpreet

Harmanpreet Kaur is set to participate in the Kia Super League in England for the second successive year with Lancashire Thunder. The India Women T20I captain will be one of the four Indians to play in the tournament, the others being Smriti Mandhana and debutants Deepti Sharma and Jemimah Rodrigues.

Before leaving for the tournament, Harmanpreet said playing with other world-class performers in foreign leagues was a very good experience and wished luck for the two KSL debutants. Harmanpreet was the first Indian to sign up for a foreign league when she did so in 2016 for the Women's Big Bash League in Australia.

“I am very excited for KSL. I really enjoy the games," Harmanpreet told ANI. "I am very happy for Jemi and Deepti who will be debuting (at) the KSL this season. They will have a wonderful time. And I wish them all the luck. They both are extremely talented and will get more experience while they are there.

"I was fortunate enough to sign a contract with WBBL in 2016. It was an all-new experience playing amongst the world-class players, learning the new drills and team bonding skills.”

Harmanpreet hoped the Women's IPL too would grow to such levels in the future, saying the tournament could help unearth new talent in India.

“WIPL has helped women’s cricket in gaining popularity. If the tournament grows bigger in the coming years it will bring more opportunities for talented domestic level cricketers," she said.

Talking about the Indian team's progress, Harmanpreet said the team 'craved' for the 2018 World T20 where they lost in the semifinal. She, however, hoped India would learn from the mistakes and do better in the next World T20, to be held in 2020 in Australia.

“2018 World Cup was something we all craved for because of the form and consistency that we built as a team for the last couple of months before the tournament. We were very confident and motivated. One odd day can change everything. But all that we learned from the experience is to do better and not get disheartened. Our team has improved and we are hoping the best from the 2020 World Cup,” she said.

One of the learnings from the 2018 World T20, which then coach Ramesh Powar mentioned in his review, was the need for a mental conditioning coach.

“Yes, I believe mental health is as important as physical health. Having a coach can be helpful," Harmanpreet agreed.

Talking about her game, Harmanpreet revealed she had passing thoughts of getting away from cricket when she was injured earlier this year. She had a dip in form in the tour of New Zealand and then missed the home T20Is against England owing to an ankle injury.

“The break did give me the time to think and recover from my injury," she said. "I spent more time in my rehab. Getting away from cricket for a while did cross my mind but it was not for good. It was just a temporary phase and not anything permanent. I am very headstrong and cricket has been my passion and love of this lifetime."

Harmanpreet also credited her captains at different stages of her career - Anjum Chopra, Jhulan Goswami and Mithali Raj - for her growth as a cricketer.

“Anjum di provided me with the support that a newcomer needs in the team. She gave me the chances to showcase my talent whereas Jhulan di always gave me comfort as a friend to make decisions and improve. Mithali di has shown me how to be calm and patient on the field and take through the innings with a flow.”

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