India batting stalwart Mithali Raj, who retired from the game last year, has termed the inaugural Women's Premier League (WPL) as a huge development for the sport in the country.
In the inaugural tournament to be held in March this year, Mithali will be the mentor and advisor of the Gujarat Giants side. "I am not surprised at all that we have got to this point, the Women's Premier League in India is a huge development.
I have been getting questions about when it would launch for years so I hope that we get a successful inaugural year and that see it expand in future." "While I will not be playing, I will be fortunate enough to serve as a mentor and advisor for the Gujarat Giants.
There is no disappointment about the fact that I missed out on playing in it, my journey as a cricketer was different and I was able to play my part in the evolution of the sport.
I am very happy to see women's cricket get to where it is and excited to be part of the eco-system," wrote Mithali in her column for the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday.
Mithali also wished the WPL will help in player development and applauded the move of one overseas player to be mandatorily from the associate nations. "I am really hoping that the WPL will also help with player development.
We have seen at the Under-19 World Cup how much young talent there is around the world and how players are already benefiting from the number of televised matches and the chance to play alongside big names in domestic cricket."
"We are also seeing ICC Associate Members competing well and I am really happy that in the WPL, at least one of the overseas players for teams has to come from an Associate Member.
The game is growing so fast, and it is great to see it doing so beyond the traditional cricketing nations." Mithali was quick to point out how the evolution of T20 leagues will help women cricketers be the better version of themselves.
"What is great at this moment is that the women's game is constantly evolving. Where 140 used to be a par score in a T20, now you can see 160-180 plus chased down, and so many matches go down to the wire.
It is certainly nerve-wracking and fun to watch." "That change has come down to the increase of leagues all over the world, with the WBBL in Australia, the Super League in England and of course the Women's Premier League in India which is going to start this year."
"Those platforms not only give local players the chance to interact with overseas stars, but they also offer better financial stability which allows them to invest in their own games, hiring personal coaches or strength and conditioning coaches."