India women's star Veda Krishnamurthy hopes BCCI can launch women's IPL

Denzil Pinto 19/07/2018
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India women’s star Veda Krishnamurthy hopes the BCCI can launch a women’s IPL by 2020 – a tournament that she believes will grow the game even further in the country.

The popularity of the women’s game in India is gradually increasing with last year’s World Cup performances in England before they were beaten by the hosts, having a major impact on the number of girls taking up the game.

The BCCI launched their inaugural Women’s T20 Challenge in May, ahead of the IPL Qualifier 1 clash between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad, which saw the likes of Krishnamurthy, several of her Indian team-mates and New Zealand and Australia women internationals take to the field at the Wankhede Stadium.

It was the closest thing to the IPL that Krishnamurthy and her fellow players have been involved in on home soil.

And the 25-year-old believes the BCCI must put all their resources together and follow Australia and England in launching their own T20 tournaments, with a domestic T20 league an obvious option to generate interest.

“The BCCI have been doing a lot of things from the time we have come under their wings and there has been a drastic change every year,” she told Sport360.

“We definitely know we have to do something really big for people to come and watch cricket. That was an important agenda when we went to the World Cup and after the tournament, we were glad that girls wanted to watch the game.

“The BCCI have taken it to the next level with the contracts and increasing the fees. I think the next step that the BCCI can do for us is to launch the women’s IPL by 2019 or 2020. If that starts, then it will be the biggest league in the world – bigger than the Big Bash and KIA Super League.”

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UAE captain Rohan Mustafa to play in Nepal's T20 Everest Premier League

Denzil Pinto 17/07/2018
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UAE captain Rohan Mustafa will return to Nepal later this year after signing for Kathmandu Kings XI in the upcoming T20 Everest Premier League.

The 29-year-old all-rounder was announced by the franchise on Monday and will join a team that will be looking to make up for their group exit last year where they registered just one win.

It will be the second time that Mustafa will be playing in Nepal after he was named man of the series for champions Team Chauraha Dhangadhi in the Dhangadhi Premier League in April.

And Mustafa insists that experience will be beneficial when he plays in the tournament, which is scheduled for November.

“The Everest Premier League is Nepal’s best T20 tournament and there were some other clubs who were interested in me but I signed for Kathmandu Kings XI,” said Mustafa.

“They are a great side and have Nepal’s fast-bowler Sompal Kami, who I played alongside in the Dhangadhi Premier League for Team Chauraha Dhangadhi earlier this year. It was great playing under his leadership there and with him as my team-mate, It’ll be easier for me to settle.”

He added: “The conditions might be a little bit different (to the Dhangadhi Premier League) but not that much. Of course when you go somewhere where it’s new and don’t know anyone it can be hard but Kami is there and having him in the team will help me a lot. The experience playing in Nepal will be massive for me but it will be a difficult tournament as it’s the best T20 tournament in Nepal.”

Mustafa will be sharing a dressing room with Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien – who scored a 100 in his nation’s Test debut against Pakistan in May – after the batsman was roped in by Kathmandu Kings XI and the UAE skipper is looking forward to playing alongside him.

“He’s a great player who has proven himself to be an excellent batsman,” he said. “It will be very good for me to learn from him because he has had a solid career with Ireland and his experience can help us go far.”

Kings XI COO Raj Jung Thapa is delighted with the acquisition of Mustafa.

“Rohan Mustafa is a left-handed batsman and a right-arm slow bowler, a perfect all-rounder for the team, with a proven track record in Nepal and loves playing in Nepal,” he said.

“This batting all-rounder has the capacity to bat at any order and will be a key ingredient for Kathmandu Kings XI, which is the biggest franchise in TVS EPL, and Rohan has declared he is very happy to come back and play in Nepal.”

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UAE women's coach Murali Sockalingam proud of team's efforts at World Twenty20 Qualifier

Denzil Pinto 15/07/2018
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Proud of efforts: Murali Sockalingam (second right)

UAE coach Murali Sockalingam admits their last-over defeat against Papua New Guinea (PNG) effectively cost them the chance to reach the Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier semi-finals but is proud of his team’s efforts in Netherlands.

The UAE will fly back to Dubai in the early hours of Monday having finished seventh in the eight-team tournament following their thrilling Super Over win against the Dutch on Saturday.

They could have finished much higher and secured a place in the last-four if it wasn’t for their agonizing two-wicket loss to PNG last Sunday in which the South Western Pacific nation reached their 84-run target with one ball to spare.

Sockalingam insists the loss was a game that had a big impact on his players.

“That game cost us,” he said. “If we won that we would have reached the semi-finals and possibly a final. We could have given a good fight against Ireland (in the semi-finals). The game toppled everything for us and the confidence of the players went a bit low.

“It’s a sad thing. One small thing can change the whole complex of a match and scenario. That game against PNG was a decider. There were a few dropped catches which cost us the game.”

The UAE’s dream of claiming one of the two available berths for the 2018 showpiece event in West Indies was ended following their loss to Bangladesh in their final group game.

And after losing to Thailand in the fifth-place play-off, there was something to smile for the UAE as they stunned the Dutch on their own patch for the second time in a week.

Subha Srinivasan claimed two wickets in the Super Over to deny the Dutch after the scores were level at 146. And despite three defeats from five games, Sockalingam says the UAE can take a lot of positives from their second-ever ICC tournament.

“The 14 girls who played the tournament have gained valuable experience where they can learn a lot,” he said. “It will help them to practice hard and become better players and for them to be compatible in this level of cricket.

“We are all part-timers because people go to work and study whereas Bangladesh and Ireland (who qualified) have been playing cricket consistently. Hats off to our girls for their efforts who have put in a lot of work for this tournament. They gave a good account of themselves and performed well especially as we didn’t have any international matches in the preparation and in what was different conditions to what we are used to.”

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