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    Written by Nick Knight
    Mumbai Indians

    WPL 2024 Preview: Huge platform awaits emerging India players as Mumbai Indians look favourites again

    February 22, 2024

    I am really looking forward to watching the Women’s Premier League (WPL 2024). It can potentially become the platform for India to dominate white-ball cricket in future. It obviously provides huge dose of entertainment but what an opportunity it gives to Indian cricketers as well as some of the developing players. And when I say opportunity, I do not necessarily mean just the matches and performing against some great players of the game but also learning in the dressing room from best talent internationally. It is a platform where they can challenge themselves and look to improve upon.

    WPL also acts as a trial really for some of the Indian players. It gives the Indian selectors a good view of the talent on the field. They can zero in on some of the players and look to build them for the future.

    I have been consuming a lot of content around WPL through podcasts and newspapers/websites and it has become very clear that the players are being exceptionally well looked after. By that, I do not just mean that they are looked after financially but also in terms of the environment that they are getting, the practice sessions, the facilities.
    It is great to see some players talking about their experience of being in the team set up and how valued they have felt. All the talk ahead of the next season of WPL sounds fantastic.

    Mumbai Indians look hot favourites

    Mumbai Indians won it last year and they look very, very strong this year too. I would say they are probably the hot favourites to win the tournament again. Harmanpreet Kaur has led them exceptionally well. They have got Shabnim Ismail. She had a terrific last summer back in the UK. Ismail also changed sides in The Hundred and made an instant impact. Her addition to Mumbai Indians only strengthens the squad.

    Charlotte Edwards, the coach, clearly feels that Ismail still has got plenty of cricket left in her even if she has retired from international cricket. Ismail’s arrival boosts their new-ball attack, an area where they were slightly weaker last year. We will have to wait and see how that affects Issy Wong. If Ismail plays, Wong may find it hard to find a place in the XI as they have also got Hayley Matthews, Nat Sciver-Brunt and Amelia Kerr who are all terrific all-rounders.

    Playing in away conditions is a huge challenge but I am sure Edwards, and her team are up for this.

    Smriti Mandhana’s RCB aim for a strong comeback

    RCB are again being led by Smriti Mandhana, who I really enjoy watching play. They too have a strong team including Ellyse Perry, Richa Ghosh, Renuka Thakur. They played a practice game and looked happy with how the team is lining up this year. Perry adds a great amount of skill as an all-rounder but also her vast experience is a huge bonus.
    They had a difficult last year but in home conditions, they will be looking to bounce back. It will be fascinating to see how they cope with the pressure this year.

    Delhi Capitals: Retired from international cricket, Lanning looks to win another trophy

    Delhi Capitals had a good last season, and they will be looking to go one step further this year. Meg Lanning led the team well and was also the leading run-scorer, it is great to see her back having retired from international cricket. She is going to make a huge impact.

    What DC would be looking for is consistency from some of the key players including Shafali Verma. She has shown quality and has a tremendous amount of talent. Shafali came into the game at a young age and today, she is a much more developed player than when she had arrived. I hope she has a WPL season to remember as this is a great opportunity to show what she can do. I love watching Jemimah Rodrigues. She will be one of the key players for Capitals. Alice Capsey is another outstanding player to look out for. She is a young player with immense potential.
    DC too have some bigger names in women’s cricket including Marizane Kapp, Annabel Sutherland, Poonam Yadav. Poonam needs to have a good tournament as spin bowling is one area that needs working at the Delhi Capitals.

    UP-Warriorz: Are they the strongest on paper?

    UP Warriorz, arguably, have the strongest side on the paper but it is also true that the best of teams can fail in these franchise-based tournaments because what matters at the end of the day is how a team gels up, plays together and what the team environment is. Let’s see how they perform this year. UP-W have lots of big-name including Deepti Sharma Alyssa Healy, Danii Wyatt, Tahlia McGrath and Chamari Athapaththu who is a seriously good player.

    They have got great line of both Indian and overseas players. But for them to shine this year, their Indian players need to stand up. Lauren Bell is not there in the side this year as she has chosen to focus on the England tour of New Zealand. No Ismail this year as well. Anjali Sarvani has a big role to play this year with the new ball in the absence of these above-mentioned bowlers.

    Gujarat Giants boosted by Mooney’s presence

    Gujarat Giants will be happy to see Beth Mooney back as captain. She did not take part in the whole season last year due to injury and that had a massive impact on where they ended up eventually. She adds a lot of value to this team. It will be exciting to see how Phoebe Litchfield goes. I think she is an emerging superstar of the game from Australia.

    They finished at rock-bottom last year and would look to improve on the points table this year. There is no reason why they cannot bounce back because the Giants have got a list of high quality cricketers. Ash Gardner, who is a wonderful cricketer, is there along with Litchfield. Laura Wolvaardt is there too. It will be interesting to see how they line up with so many options right at the top order. Litchfield may have to drop down the order to let Wolvaardt open the batting with Mooney. Litchfield can bat in the top of the middle order rather than too down.

    Watch out for Kashvee Gautam. She is a real prospect with the ball. As much as we focus on some of the bigger names in the game, someone like Gautam can be a breath of fresh air. It will be a great opportunity for her to learn from some of the great players that she will be sharing the dressing room with.

    About the Author

    Written by Nick Knight

    Represented England in 100 ODIs and 17 Test matches. Faced fastest ball ever recorded by Shoaib Akhtar of over 100 mph in 2003 World Cup. Worked as a broadcaster for Sky Sports Cricket since 2007 and around the world in various Franchise leagues. Absolutely love cricket..

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