BCCI to allow Indian eves to play overseas leagues

Mumbai:Things are only getting better for Indian women’s cricket. After the country’s top woman cricketers were given central contract by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) last year, they have now been allowed to play in foreign leagues “subject to their contracts being approved”.

The new BCCI president Anurag Thakur has also laid out targets for the Indian women’s team, expecting them to reach No.1 in the world by 2020.

The news of the women being allowed to participate in leagues overseas was welcomed by two of the country’s top cricketers, captain Mithali Raj and bowling ace Jhulan Goswami.

Both were offered contracts to play in Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia last season but could not participate because it clashed with domestic tournaments. And, BCCI’s latest news came a little too late for the Women’s Cricket Super League to be held in England as the squads were finalised in April second half.

“Yes, I got to know in the afternoon about BCCI allowing us to play in overseas leagues,” Mithali told dna from Shirdi, where she’s on a visit.

“It’s a good decision and gives players the opportunity to gain experience by playing on different soil, mixing with players from various countries. This will help players to enhance their knowledge and improve their game immemsely,” added the 33-year-old who is the second highest run-getter in women’s ODI history.

Goswami was equally elated at the news and said that Indian women’s cricket will only improve.

“This will only help exchange cultures between us and players from other countries. It has never happened before for Indian women’s cricketers. This will be a huge experience. I can learn from their culture and they can learn from ours. We have never had that kind of an atmosphere before. I am looking forward to playing there,” said Goswami, 33, from Kolkata.

Goswami complimented BCCI for “always being positive to women’s cricket and always supporting it”.

“Slowly, everything is moving in the right direction for women’s cricket,” she added.

Goswami, who could not accept the offer from Melbourne Stars for last season’s WBBL, said, “There was no clear indication from BCCI and our side on what we were going to do. There was lack of coordination from our side. I hope this time when WBL starts, there will no such issues.”

West Indies’ Hayley Mathews, who was player of the match in the ICC WT20 final in which her team stunned Australia for the title, admitted that WBBL helped her a great deal. Mathews turned up for Hobart Hurricanes in last year’s WBBL.

Goswami seconded Mathews. “It will be great for all of us to play with world-class cricketers. We can learn a lot of things, the quality of game will be very high. WBBL was a big hit. West Indies girls benefitted immensely. It gave them a lot of confidence and to be beating Australia in the WT20 final, you needed to have a lot of mental strength. I think they learnt that from WBBL.”

Goswami, at 175, is only six wickets away from becoming the highest wicket-taker in ODIs. After the WT20, she has been enjoying a break from non-stop action that began in June last year, is currently training for the upcoming season.

Besides the domestic calendar and the international matches, the women’s leagues overseas will be keenly anticipated by the Indian woman cricketers.