Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) women’s team captain and Indian women’s cricket team vice-captain Smriti Mandhana has shared her perspectives on the potential impact of a multi-city format for the Women’s Premier League (WPL). She was speaking at the RCB Innovation Lab’s Leaders Meet India in Bengaluru. Reflecting on the success of the WPL, Smriti Mandhana expressed enthusiasm for the prospect of adopting a multi-city format at the first-of-its-kind summit that brought together influential leaders from various industries to delve into the future of sports. “It would be great to have WPL in the multi-city format. I think that might be the next step and I am sure the people right here would look into it and make it happen. As an RCB fan, I would love to play in Chinnaswamy where people are chanting ‘RCB RCB’ and just to be in that environment. That is something which is one step ahead for us that it (multi-city format) can reach to places where women’s cricket hasn’t reached and to get new audience going into women’s cricket,” Mandhana said, according to a RCB release.
The 27-year-old feels the Innovation Lab’s Leaders Meet India was a platform to understand how different business people look at sports as a platform to generate digital numbers and feels the event should happen more often to interact with other sports icons and business top brass.
Ahead of the WPL auction, she also talked about the preparations for the tournament.
“A lot of thoughts have gone into what kind of combinations we need in terms of releases or retention. So we are really looking forward to the WPL auctions and hopefully, we get the players who we are looking forward to getting,” she added.
Speaking on the growth of women’s sports in India, Mandhana highlighted the remarkable achievements of women athletes in recent years.
“Women in India are doing amazing stuff in the last five to 10 years not only in women’s cricket but in women’s sport in general. If you see the last Olympics or Commonwealth or Asian Games, the kind of medals women’s athletes have gone and got for the country is a big inspiration for a lot of smaller city girls out there to pursue their passion. I think women’s sports, in general, should be treated separately and by doing that they can definitely sell a lot of things in terms of the ticketing or the digital rights.”
Asked about the areas women’s cricket needs in terms of further investment or further focus to keep propelling forward, Mandhana suggested focusing on the grassroots level.
“The only thing that we could invest in is the grassroots level of women’s sport in general because a lot of interest is developed with the Indian Women’s team or the WPL tournament. Invest more so that we get a lot more cricketers women cricketers,” she remarked.
Drawing inspiration from women athletes in international sports, Mandhana revealed her admiration for Alex Morgan in women’s FIFA and acknowledged Serena Williams’ monumental achievements in tennis as her source of motivation.
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