Over the last few days, besides training, Mandhana said she has had “conversations” with her teammates to make sure everyone is on the same wavelength when they take the field for their opening match against the Delhi Capitals at the Brabourne Stadium on Sunday.
So, what’ve the conversations been about?
“With domestic players, it’s important as a leader to reach out because everything is new for them. I don’t make them feel that I play for India. Just have that normal conversation. It was important for me to reach out to them. Any girl shouldn’t feel that she has been left out,” said the 26-year-old, who is also the most expensive player of the WPL.
When it comes to overseas players, Mandhana hopes to feed off their experience in international cricket.
“We have an amazing overseas bunch. They all are leaders in their own terms. So, I just told them ‘you can come up to me anytime, share your experience and help me as well’. Once we had that conversation, it just went smoothly. It wasn’t really that hard with the kind of people we have on our roster,” said Mandhana.
With New Zealand skipper Sophie Devine and England captain Heather Knight in their ranks, Mandhana said she has plenty of international experience to fall back on. Also there is Australian allrounder Ellyse Perry, who has been part of six T20 World Cup-winning Australian sides.
Mandhana has enough captaincy experience under her belt. She has led Maharashtra since her junior days and is the vice-captain of the Indian team. She also led Trailblazers to the title in the Women’s T20 Challenge in 2020.
The WPL was put together at such a breathtaking pace that teams haven’t got much time to prepare but no one is complaining and have done their best to get themselves match-ready.
Absolutely electrifying, emotions running high, and a momentous occasion in women’s sports. WPL is now live and… https://t.co/2QdTpiqnav
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) 1677939931000
“Ideally, we would have loved to have more time, but I don’t think it’s important for us to think about that. We have tried to get the best out of everyone in the last 2-3 days and now we are ready to go,” said Mandhana.
“It has been a quick turnaround for all of us. But the opening practice session didn’t feel like it was our first. I just felt like we knew each other for a long time. I thought everyone would go through their routine, but it wasn’t like that. Everyone gelled well and that made our job easier.”
The RCB on Saturday launched the Sports For All campaign which is going to develop an ecosystem for women’s cricket in India. It will see them introducing scouting programmes across the country, conduct tournaments, and give young girls a platform to display their talent.