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WPL 2023: Know more about lesser-known players – Part II

Women's Premier League (WPL) 2023: Know more about lesser-known players – Part II.

Women's Premier League (WPL) 2023_ Shreyanka Patil plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©RCBTweets_Twitter)
Shreyanka Patil plays for RCB Women in WPL (Images: ©RCBTweets/Twitter)

On March 1, when the two-minute promo of the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL) was telecasted on TV sets with its theme “Har zubaan par naam tera (your name will be on every tongue)”, it quickly resonated with the audience. Out of the 87 players who have been selected in the 5 teams in the inaugural edition, 30 players are uncapped.

The inaugural edition of the much awaited first ever Women’s T20 mega event based on the theme of IPL which is adorned by teams representing some important cities of India, WPL too follows the same suit.

In our WPL segment ‘Know your players’ we uncover some of the less heard about players who have made their mark in the short stint or are expected to deliver the same in the near future as the tournament progresses.

Kanika Ahuja

A young gun all-rounder Kanika Ahuja who hails from Patiala plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore-Women (RCB-W) in the Women’s Premier League. At the domestic circuit she plays for Punjab Women’s team and India D team as an all-rounder. She is a left-hand batter and bowls right arm offbreak.

In her domestic career, Kanika has amassed 243 runs in 15 matches at an average of 24.30 while batting and took 17 wickets in 15 matches at an economy rate of 4.18 and bowling average of 18.94. While having a par record as an all-rounder in the domestic matches, she is expected to deliver well for Royal Challengers Bangalore in WPL.

In her first WPL match against Delhi Capitals Women’s team, she got out on a golden duck. In her very next match against the table-toppers and undefeated Mumbai Indians Women team, when RCB were reeling at 71/5, she played her free-flowing shots and scored a quickfire 22 off 13 balls to help RCB cross the three figure mark and stitched an important partnership with Richa Ghosh. In the next match against Gujarat Giants, she was looking to continue from where she had left in the previous encounter but she was stumped for 10 off 7 balls while she looked to tonk one straight down the ground.

In the next match against UP Warriorz Women, she could score only 8 runs. She may not have too great numbers as a batter in WPL but it’s her stroke playing abilities which can be refined even further and she is definitely a young all-rounder in the making for India. Also, RCB should give her some chance to bowl to boost her confidence up and give RCB more dynamism and options to work with.

Sobhana Asha

Sobhana Asha is an all-rounder who hails from Kerala and plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the WPL. She is a right-hand batter and bowls legbreak. She has played for Kerala Women’s cricket team, India B, Railways, President’s Women XI, Puducherry Women’s team and India A. She has scored 80 runs in 19 matches and took 23 wickets in 19 matches while playing in domestic T20 matches.

While she had a forgettable WPL debut, scoring only 2 runs and getting hit for 29 runs in 2 overs against Delhi Capitals, she couldn’t find herself a place in the playing XI for RCB after that. But what needs to be seen here is her rich domestic experience playing across different domestic tournaments and if that is tapped in the right direction, she is a player to watch out for.

Simran Shaikh

Simran Shaikh is a middle-order right hand batter who hails from Mumbai and plays for UP Warriorz in the WPL. As of domestic matches, she represents Mumbai’s Women team. She has played 56 matches in domestic tournaments where she has amassed 1106 runs in 49 innings at an average of 39.50 at an amazing SR of 204.81.

While playing her first match for UP Warriorz, she was dismissed for a golden duck and against Delhi Capitals she was not out on 6. In the next match against RCB, the batter didn’t get an opportunity to bat as UP Warriorz crushed RCB-W by 10 wickets. It’s her amazing rate of striking that has caught the attention of UP Warriorz team and if she is given proper opportunities to show what she is capable of, she can see herself in the role of a proper finisher with that impeccable strike rate.

Women's Premier League (WPL) 2023_ Kiran Navgire represents UP Warriorz Women's team in WPL 2023_ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©WPLT20_Twitter)
Kiran Navgire represents UP Warriorz in WPL (Images: ©WPLT20/Twitter)

Kiran Navgire

Kiran Navgire is an Indian cricketer who resides in Solapur, Maharashtra and recently made her T20I debut in September 2022 against England. She is a right-hand middle order batter. She plays for UP Warriorz in the WPL. She has played for Nagaland's women team and India C team in the domestic circuit.

Navgire didn’t get much opportunities to showcase her talent against England in her debut T20 international stint. She has played 6 international T20 matches and scored only 17 runs in 4 innings. In her domestic career, she has scored 2914 runs in 107 matches at an average of 35.54, with an impressive strike rate of 149.90. If rising from ashes and fly like a phoenix is a story to be believed, one can resonate that with the recent success story of Kiran Navgire. She had an impressive debut against Gujarat Giants in the very first match of her WPL career and scored a match-winning 53 off 43 balls. While UP Warriorz batting order collapsed, it was Kiran’s sensible innings that set the platform for Grace Harris to snatch the match for UP Warriorz from the jaws of defeat against Gujarat Giants. Along with her 53-run knock, what caught the attention of the ardent followers of the game is that she had no brand sponsoring her and so she marked her bat with ‘Dhoni 07’ as she is a huge follower of MS Dhoni and with a sensational WPL debut, now brands will approach her.

She was dismissed at 2 against Delhi Capitals and didn’t get an opportunity to bat against Royal Challengers Bangalore. It’s these stories which make WPL special and Kiran Navgire’s story is nothing short of an inspiration.

Shreyanka Patil

Shreyanka Patil is a young and confident all-rounder from Bangalore who plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the WPL and Karnataka Women’s team in domestic tournaments. She is a right-hand batter and bowls right arm offbreak. In her domestic career, she has played 58 matches where she has scored 807 runs in 48 innings at an average of 21.81 and at a strike rate of 85.76 and took 94 wickets in 55 innings at an impressive average of 15.22 and an economy rate of 5.17.

Patil didn’t get an opportunity to play for RCB in their first match in WPL against Delhi Capitals but she got her chance in the team from the second match onwards. In the second match against Mumbai Indians when RCB were reeling at 71/5 with top guns like Smriti Mandhana, Sophie Devine and Elysse Perry back in the hut, it was the lower middle order’s vital contributions and quickfire cameos that helped RCB reach a respectable total of 155. Just as when Richa and Kanika were steadying things for RCB, the partnership got broken and in came the confident girl Shreyanka who didn’t seem to be much bothered by the RCB’s despicable batting performance and continued to score in her natural free flowing way and scored 23 off 15 balls.

In her second match against Gujarat Giants she took the important wickets of Sophie Dunkley and Harleen Deol who were the highest scorers for Gujarat Giants in a staggering first innings score of 201. While batting at number 8 that day, she remained unbeaten on 11 off 4 balls to take RCB close to Gujarat Giants 201 and RCB could manage 190 runs on the board; her hitting prowess made sure RCB didn’t lose much on NRR. In a one-sided affair against UP Warriorz, she scored 15 off 10 balls and got hit for 36 runs in 3 overs.

It's not the amount of runs she has scored that has caught the eyes but rather it was her little cameo innings, bold and confident body language that has impressed many cricketing pundits and followers of the game. As soon as she scores a boundary, her face shines with a resplendent smile and gives high five to the senior batters at the other end, it’s her approach of enjoying the game which will help her to etch her name in the world of cricket.


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