Switched off TV, phone when name came in WPL auction, says Jasia Akhtar

Switched off TV, phone when name came in WPL auction, says Jasia Akhtar
Switched off TV, phone when name came in WPL auction, says Jasia Akhtar

Seasoned India leg-spinner Poonam Yadav believes the Women’s Premier League (WPL) will not just provide a great opportunity to senior players to come back into national reckoning, it will also be a boon for young players to learn from international stars.

The Delhi Capitals player, who is hoping to take the WPL route to regain her place in the national side, added the tournament will take Indian women’s cricket to the next level. The 31-year-old last played for India in an ODI against Bangladesh in March last year and was bought by the Delhi franchise for the inaugural WPL edition for Rs 30 lakh.

The WPL is scheduled to commence on March 4 with the match between Gujarat Giants and Mumbai Indians.

“The experienced players can utilise the WPL as a platform to make a comeback and the youngsters will get a chance to showcase their talent in the tournament,” Poonam said in a Delhi Capitals media release.

“We can also learn from foreign players and they will learn from us as well. The WPL will take Indian cricket to great heights.”

Top-order batter Jasia Akhtar from Jammu and Kashmir said she is relishing the prospect of playing alongside Lanning and Kapp.

“I switched off the TV when my name came up in the WPL auction. I switched off my phone for 15 minutes as well,” the 34-year-old recalled.

“I got a call from my brother after I switched on my phone and he told me that I had been picked by Delhi Capitals. I didn’t believe him, but then I spoke with my parents and they were very excited. I felt proud after being taken by such a big franchise. I am excited to play with Meg Lanning and Marizanne Kapp.”

Delhi Capitals’ star-studded 18-member side boasts of Meg Lanning, who became the most decorated captain in the history of the game after leading Australia to a record-extending sixth Women’s T20 World Cup title with a 19-run win over South Africa in Cape Town on Sunday.

Having won five World Cup titles for Australia, Lanning surpassed compatriot Ricky Ponting’s feat of four trophies and three by Mahendra Singh Dhoni in ICC events. Delhi Capitals also have South African pace bowling all-rounder Marizanne Kapp along with the star Indian batting duo of Shafali Verma and Jemimah Rodrigues on their roster.

All-rounder Arundhati Reddy, who last played for India in a T20I against England in July 2021, is also looking forward to the “opportunity” of playing alongside international stars. “We’ve been waiting for the WPL for a long time. It’s a great opportunity for us to rub shoulders with some of the greats of the game,” the 25-year-old said.

“I went unsold in the first round of auction and I was not sure if my name would come (up) again. Jemimah (Rodrigues) called me and told me that I had been picked up by Delhi Capitals and that’s how I got to know. She was very excited,” she added.

‘Player of the Match’ in India’s Women’s U-19 T20 World Cup triumph last month, Titas Sadhu said getting picked by Delhi Capitals was a “huge relief” for her.

“I was following the auction and practising at the same time. It was a huge relief when I was taken by the Delhi Capitals. I will look to learn as much as possible during this competition as I will be exposed to something that I have never experienced before. I will try to absorb as much as I can.”

Delhi Capitals will begin their WPL campaign against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Brabourne here on March 5.

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