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Women’s T20 World Cup: India will go from strength to strength in the next decade : Nasser Hussain

New Delhi : With the Women’s T20 World Cup set to take place in South Africa from February 10-26, former England men’s captain Nasser Hussain believes India has the potential to go from strength to strength in the next decade, especially with the emergence of Women’s Premier League (WPL).

India, the runners-up of the 2020 Women’s T20 World Cup, will open their Group B campaign in the Women’s T20 World Cup against arch-rivals Pakistan on February 12 at Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town.

Apart from Pakistan, they will also face 2009 champions England, and 2016 winners West Indies, and Ireland in the group stage of the competition. “India, meanwhile, are a force to be reckoned with and in the next decade or so they will go from strength to strength.

The change happened once they got to that World Cup final at Lord’s in 2017 and with the Women’s Premier League coming up there is no going back. They used to be a sleeping giant but are no longer asleep.

They are wide awake,” wrote Hussain for Sky Sports on Friday. Hussain opined that one has to look at the variety of cricketers India have, including big-hitting opener Shafali Verma, who led the team to victory in the U19 Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa last month.

“It used to be pretty much just Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami but you look at the players they have now – Harmanpreet Kaur, Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana. Verma is still so young — she captained India to the Under-19 T20 World Cup title just recently — and Mandhana is about as elegant a cricketer as you get.”

“She (Smriti) never gets ugly runs. Then in Deepti Sharma, they have an outstanding bowler. India have a lot of boxes ticked and if it is not to be for them in this World Cup it probably will be in future ones.”

Hussain admitted that the player auction of the WPL, to be held on February 13 in Mumbai, could become a distraction for players participating in the Women’s T20 World Cup.

“It is a little bit of a distraction that the player auction takes place on February 13, the same day England play Ireland and South Africa face New Zealand in the World Cup.”

“Some players will be excited having been chosen and others will be disappointed not to have been picked. With the extra exposure comes things that you have to keep an eye on but you would much rather have it this way than these high-class professional sportspeople being undervalued.”

“The T20 World Cup is a huge global event and it won’t be overshadowed. The auction may be a bit of a distraction for a day or two but this is a World Cup everyone wants to win, with Australia looking for three in a row. They are the standout favourites.”

Hussain further elaborated on how much women’s cricket has evolved in the last few years. “We have seen that in global tournaments – there were over 80,000 people at the MCG for the last T20 World Cup final between Australia and India in 2020 – and various domestic competitions like the Hundred where women’s cricket has been eye-catching.”

“That has snowballed. The quality has gone up and names are being created. Those names are much sought-after by franchise teams and the game-changer is the Women’s Premier League in India coming up, which will provide large sums of money if not life-changing sums. Being a women’s cricketer is now a viable career and it is about time.”



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