With the second edition of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) set to begin on February 23, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Smriti Mandhana sounded confident about her side being more balanced than last season.
After recording sky-high success across the 16 seasons of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Indian cricket gained a lot of appreciation with their 2023-launched WPL. The inaugural WPL season saw Mumbai Indians, led by Indian cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur, replicate much of the success of their men’s counterpart and emerge as winners.
On the other hand, the Challengers had a disappointing opening season when they finished 4th in the 5-team tournament. Despite having prominent cricketers like Smriti Mandhana, Ellyse Perry and Sophie Devine, the RCB side failed to make any impact in the tournament.
However, Mandhana believed RCB brought in some effective players in the auction that would better their chances of doing well in the upcoming edition.
”I would definitely want it to be better than the first season. From RCB’s point of view, quite a few players were released, and we brought in new players. So, the balance has improved for sure, and we are hoping to live up to our potential,” Mandhana told JioCinema.
Mandhana also gave an insight into her side’s lack of time to get used to the conditions ahead of WPL 2023.
”Last year, when we joined the team two days before the tournament, we didn’t know about 90% of the players. We didn’t know what they did and what they didn’t. This year, it was important to know their strengths and weaknesses so that we could play better. The WPL is a short tournament, and it’s difficult to change things when it’s on,” Mandhana added.
However, the 27-year-old was not ready to be optimistic beyond the margin required and shared that she was carrying a more focused approach this season.
‘We don’t want to think too far ahead. We definitely want to do better than last year and are motivated to do it. The people at our franchise are very nice and have supported us immensely, so more than anything else, we want to win the trophy for them,” Mandhana added.
The WPL auction on December 9, 2023, saw RCB spend around Rs 2.5 cores to acquire the likes of Ekta Bisht, Kate Cross, Georgia Wareham (leg-spinner), Sabbineni Meghana, Simran Bahadur, Sophie Molineux (left-arm spinner) and Shubha Satheesh.
In terms of letting players go, RCB released Komal Zanzad, Poonam Khemnar, Preeti Bose, Sahana Pawar, Dane van Niekerk, Erin Burns, and Megan Schutt.