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WPL 2023 : Don’t expect us to just operate with the same four in the whole tournament : Mike Hesson on overseas slots

Mumbai : Ahead of the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League (WPL), Royal Challengers Bangalore do have a good headache in selecting their four overseas players in the playing eleven. During the player auction held earlier in the month, Bangalore made some big-ticket purchases in terms of overseas players.

They got in Australia’s premier all-rounder Ellyse Perry and her pace counterpart Megan Schutt along with WBBL regular Erin Burns, as well as England, and New Zealand skippers Heather Knight, and Sophie Devine, apart from South Africa’s leg-spin all-rounder Dane van Niekerk.

But who gets into the four overseas slots out of six marquee players in the playing eleven throughout the 22-game tournament starting from March 4 and running till March 26 is a question which will keep the Bangalore think-tank on their toes, something which was agreed by Mike Hesson, Director of Cricket at RCB.

“It’s something which will be relevant throughout the whole tournament. But when you look at the programme and see four games in the first six days, it’s highly likely all six will play a role at some stage.

Not just because of fatigue, but also due to different skillsets and matchups which we will be looking to operate against different teams,” Hesson said. “But we are really fortunate in getting all six high-quality overseas players who will be operating within the structure of our local talent as well.

Don’t expect us to just operate with the same four in the whole tournament, which could likely happen in the back end.” “But we are fortunate to have people who can function in majority of roles.

We have got some multi-skilled players who can do a variety of roles and can operate with combinations of other players too. I am pretty sure you will see all six in the tournament at some stage,” said Hesson while replying to a question from IANS in the pre-tournament virtual press conference.

With the WPL all set to turn into reality, it will also bring domestic Indian talent to the big stage. Apart from established stars like captain Smriti Mandhana, wicketkeeper-batter Richa Ghosh and fast bowler Renuka Singh Thakur, head coach Ben Sawyer spoke highly about the young Indian players in RCB, and is expecting them to play a key role in the side journey in the first-ever edition of the WPL.

“Saying impressed (with young Indian talent) would be an understatement. Last few days into the nets have been outstanding. Shreyanka (Patil) with her off spin, Disha (Kasat) at the top there, there is someone like Poonam (Khemnar) with a power-hitting ability and Asha (Shobana) bowling leg spin has been as good as anybody that we have on ground.”

“What Mike and I wanted to put together at the auction was some really good domestic talent that’s going to complement the internationals. With my experience in other franchise cricket, it’s the strength of the domestic players that plays really important roles in being successful in these competitions.”

“And I know RCB has put a lot of work into it with their scouting and also with the auction plans that we had. We are really very happy with all the domestic players we have got on our side.”
Hesson also touched upon roping in recently-retired tennis great Sania Mirza as a mentor of the side. “We know it’s about the real challenges that women face in sport in India and throughout the world.

So, a really exciting addition to the support staff and I’m sure all the girls are delighted to work with her. I think it’s exciting.” “In women’s sport, she has been a huge icon and it’s actually very good to be from outside of the game, because you’re talking more about the emotions and the pressures and moving towards challenges, rather than talking technique or about cricket… we’ve got experts for that.

We’ve got plenty of experts for that.” RCB will play their first match of the WPL on March 5 against Delhi Capitals at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.


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