Mumbai: The fanfare has touched fever pitch ahead of the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League, and UP Warriorz’s head coach Jon Lewis says that the tournament is a big moment in the game.
“This is a great opportunity for the women cricketers, to be at such a high-profile tournament with so much investment, I think it is going to be a massive lift for the world of women’s cricket, not just in India. The way it has been set up and the profile of the tournament, the experience this country has with the men’s IPL, and if they can make the most of it, Indian women’s cricket is definitely going to grow quite a lot,” said head coach Jon Lewis.
Speaking about the talent on show at the Women’s Premier League and in the UP Warriorz camp, Lewis said, “I am quite excited about the talent on show in our team, and it is really interesting to see the depth that’s there in India. I think there’s plenty of talent this tournament is going to be a showpiece for these young players.”
Lewis, who is the coach of the England women’s team, touched upon dealing with the big stage that the WPL provides. He said, “The thing that all the players here are seeing is opportunity. The young players may not have seen this before and selection can always be tricky in a country of this size because to pick 11 from this massive lot must be difficult.”
He further added, “As we have seen in the men’s IPL, talent has come through and flown straight onto the international scene, and I would expect the same to happen here, maybe one, two or three players will make through to the international squad and I would expect them to take to it like a duck does to water.”
The UP Warriorz and coach Lewis have been regularly upping the intensity and ante in training, and when asked about the expectation through the next month, he said, “The Indian fans are very passionate about the game of cricket, and I expect packed stadiums and the fans to get behind the players. A full ground creates a fantastic atmosphere, and there’s a buzz in the team as well. And I am hopeful the UP Warriorz get a good amount of support from the whole country.”
Speaking about the rest of the field, Lewis said, “I think it will difficult to say who is the toughest opponent, because everything is quite new and we don’t know who is going to gel together the best. Also, how people will deal with the scrutiny and pressure. If you look at all the teams, they’re all really strong, and I feel there is a really even balance across all teams. We have a nice balance to our squad but you have to go and play well on the day. And it will be fascinating to see how this tournament pans out.”
Lewis also spoke about what he felt would be crucial in terms of helping the team get through the whole of the tournament, and be successful. He said, “The team I think that will come out at the back end of the tournament will be the mentally fresher team, because they’ve played a lot of cricket this year. So, keeping the players fresh and rested well will be the most important, and also the players have to stay calm, think really clearly on their feet and adapt to the situation because there are so many unknowns, which is why I think this competition is going to be so exciting.”
The UP Warriorz open their campaign against the Adani Gujarat Giants on Sunday 5 March, in the second game of the day at the DY Patil Stadium.
UP Warriorz Squad: Alyssa Healy (Captain), Sophie Ecclestone, Deepti Sharma, Tahlia McGrath, Shabnim Ismail, Anjali Sarvani, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Parshavi Chopra, Shweta Sehrawat, S Yashasri, Kiran Navgire, Grace Harris, Devika Vaidya, Lauren Bell, Laxmi Yadav, Simran Shaikh
Head Coach – Jon Lewis, Assistant Coach – Anju Jain, Bowling Coach – Ashley Noffke, Mentor – Lisa Sthalekar.