After missing out on qualifying for the 2018 Women’s World Twenty20, Subha Srinivasan is determined to help the UAE qualify for the 2022 edition even if it means she has to prolong her playing career into her 40s.
The all-rounder was part of the squad that finished seventh in the Qualifier tournament in Netherlands last week as Ireland and Bangladesh advanced to the showpiece event in the West Indies later this year.
It means the UAE will have to wait another four years if they want to showcase their skills on the world stage when the tournament is held in South Africa in 2018.
Srinivasan will be 42 by that time but instead of calling it quits now aged 38, she is eager to carry on playing and help make UAE history by playing in their first elite global competition.
“Most definitely I want to continue playing for a long time,” she said. “Being in your 30s and playing cricket is difficult but I still feel I have a lot to give and I want to get fitter when bowling and batting. I just want to perform consistently in every game I play.”
She added: “I had a 15-year playing career but executing everything is a very challenging task. Performing consistently is the key to success. I know age is catching up with me but at the same time, I have to stay fresh in my mindset and continue to work. I want to help the UAE reach a world competition and it would be great if I could help them do it before I retire.”
Srinivasan showed why she is a key member by taking seven wickets in five matches in Netherlands in a campaign where they defeated the hosts twice in a week.
They were beaten by Asian T20 champions Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea in the group stage before falling to Thailand in the play-offs. But despite the stern competition and playing on European wickets for the first time, she believes the tournament was great learning experience for her team-mates.
“It was really challenging and we have been exposed to a level where we know we have to work even harder,” she added. “We knew what level of competition it is and it was a reality check to see where UAE cricket stands and what areas we need to work on.”
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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.”
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.”
We proudly announce UAE’s Captain Rohan Mustafa as our 2nd international player for this year’s TVS EPL . He has been an integral member of the UAE’s Cricket team since the last decade and has helped establish a strong foundation for cricket in UAE. pic.twitter.com/0KkqkUqsTI— KathmandukingsXI (@kathmandukings) July 16, 2018
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.”