BCCI President Anurag Thakur seems to be excited with the new concept © IANS
BCCI President Anurag Thakur seems to be excited with the new concept © IANS

It has been just days after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) declared that the Indian women cricketers were granted permission to participate in the Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League (BBL), it is sure to give new opportunities to the women’s team, as the franchises have already started monitoring the Indian women cricketers, and the news has been doing loads of rounds in the media ever since. General Manager of Sydney Thunders, Nick Cummins said: “It’s a fantastic development that the Indians will now be part of WBBL. I don’t think we could call the WBBL the leading women’s T20 league in the world without the Indians in it. The Indian women showed during their last tour to Australia that they have some world-class players and their participation can only make the WBBL better. We have a solo slot for an overseas cricketer and we have an Indian player in mind for that.” Anurag Thakur-led BCCI to back ‘Big Three’

Along with Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami, Harmanpreet Bhullar, Smriti Mandhana and Veda Krishnamurthy would also be the players who would be monitored and sought for by the WBBL franchises, reports Hindustan Times Harmanpreet said, “Having an IPL-type of league in India would have been superb, but till the time that doesn’t happen, it would be wonderful to go out and participate in international leagues like the one in Australia. We were in Australia earlier this year playing that series when the first WBBL had just ended. We got to know brilliant stuff about the tournament from Australian cricketers like Meg Lanning and Elysse Perry. We do not get enough cricket to play otherwise, so this would be the best exposure for us.”

Harmanpreet, is one of the most prolific woman Indian cricketer in the recent times and is well known to be suited in the Twenty20 (T20) format. although the Indian women cricketer play very limited international cricket, Harmanpreet has time and again proven herself to be a match-winning player. Her power hitting ability would allow the Australian franchises to make a strong bid for her, however, she is yet to be approached by any franchise as of now. Anurag Thakur proposes changes in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

“It’s only in winters so we are hopeful of getting contracts,” she said. Mandhana and Krishnamurthy too have been impressive with their two strokes and would be a certain attraction for the franchises. With each franchise having a slot of maximum two overseas players, it will be a tough time for them to pick the correct player. Earlier, Melbourne Stars had enquired about Mithali, Jhulan and few other women cricketers to participate in the inaugural seaon in 2015. However, they were unavailable owing to their clash with the domestic season and BCCI unsure whether to give permission.

Meanwhile, BCCI President Anurag Thakur seems to be excited with the new concept as he says: “The BCCI wants to see Indian women cricket grow and become No.1 by 2020. We have asked the Women’s Working Committee to give us recommendations in July for next five years.” BCCI to transform SMAT into inter-zonal competition

“The idea of coming up with its own T20 league is definitely floating around. If the Women Working Committee recommends to the BCCI about such a league will help our women to grow and become better, we would definitely consider this. We could even come up with our own T20 League for women on the lines of IPL so there could be lots happening on that front,” he added.

On being asked if the men players would also be allowed to participate in overseas T20 leagues, he said: “Not yet. We are more than happy to allow men to play in the English county tournament and other longer format tournaments if they aren’t clashing with our first-class season. And that’s where it stands.”

Ever since Thakur has been in charge of the BCCI, it has come to notice that he has been working on the betterment of the women’s cricket. Indian women earned central contracts form the BCCI, along with bonus cash prize following their home series win over New Zealand. On being asked on why were the women cricketers not allowed to participatein the inaugural edition of WBBL, Thakur said, “It was a start for a T20 league like WBBL in 2015. The players were contacted at last minute for playing in the WBBL. At the same time we had big events like ODI and T20 series in Australia, followed up by T20 World Championship in India. The BCCI wants the women cricketers to get best exposure and growth.”

“Cricket Australia (CA) contacted BCCI for Indian women’s participation. We discussed it among the members and thought this will be a good exposure and opportunity for women players. BCCI was more than happy to give a go ahead for WBBL-II,” he added. Thakur also added that the BCCI will be in talks with England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) abd Cricket Australia (CA) over the participation of players in their domestic leagues. Meanwhile, ECB will roll out a too would be launching their Women’s T20 league in July 2016.