Can Smriti Mandhana be the face of Women’s IPL?

If you are an investor, Smriti Mandhana is a stock that you would like to bet on for a long term. There is seldom any doubt that her elegant style, her technical prowess, and her calmness on the field unequivocally make Smriti Mandhana a marketable face of Women’s IPL.

For those of you who have not got a chance to follow women’s cricket from close quarters, particularly Indian women cricketers, Smriti Mandhana is a 22-year old girl from Sangli, Maharashtra, and has played an instrumental role in putting Indian cricket on the global map. Her monk like dedication and her tremendous hunger for runs makes Mandhana one of the players to watch out for. The luxury to witness two of the cricketing greats at one time is indeed a treat. And this treat is offered to us by none other than the swashbuckling opener of India Smriti Mandhana. When she pulls or lofts one over the mid-wicket, she reminds us of the Aussie great Adam Gilchrist. When she upper cuts or punches on the backfoot she reminds us of the Prince of Kolkata Sourav Ganguly. On the off side first there is God then there is Ganguly. Adding to “The Wall’s” statement, I take the liberty of saying (I don’t think it is unfair), “On the off side, first there is God then there is Ganguly and Mandhana”.

The southpaw’s fan following touched all time high when she muscled 90 off just 72 balls against England in their own backyard in the first match of Women’s World Cup 2017. Bagging the Player of the Match, Mandhana brought Indian women’s cricket into limelight and gave World Cup winning hopes to 1.25 billion people. Reaching the finals spoke volumes of the women’s valiance and established the fact that these Women in Blue mean business. Her masterclass strokeplay and aggressive batting style was rewarded with contracts from Women’s Big Bash League (Australia) and Women’s Cricket Super League (England).

A question that has been doing the rounds for quite some time is “Can we have Women’s IPL?”. To answer this, for starters a pilot study was undertaken to check the economic and marketing feasibility of Women’s IPL. Velocity, Trailblazers, and Supernovas were the three sides that played against each other last week. Smriti Mandhana, who captained Trailblazers again showed her class, as she muscled 90 off 69 as well as stictched a 100-run partnership with Harleen Deol, against Supernovas in the first match. At hindsight, the Women’s T20 does not seem to be a bad option, however, whenever it happens, it should come out with a disclaimer “Please do not compare women’s cricket to men’s cricket”.

With age on her side and a bounty of class and temaparament, can Smriti Mandhana be the face of Women’s IPL? Fingers crossed.

 

Written by Mumbai Women’s Cricketer & Cricket Journalist

Julie Balal

 

Article first published on pocketsizeddynamo.blogspot.com by the same writer