WPL 2023: Sania Mirza named mentor of Royal Challengers Bangalore
India's Tennis star Sania Mirza has been roped in as the mentor of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for the inaugural Women's Premier League (WPL). The Bengaluru-based franchise announced the same on Wednesday (February 15). Notably, Mirza retired from professional tennis after the Australian Open earlier this year. She is now keen to contribute to the field of cricket. Here are further details.
Why does this story matter?
- Mirza, who is married to former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik, is arguably the greatest Indian woman tennis player.
- She owns as many as six Grand Slam titles across women's doubles and mixed doubles.
- The 36-year-old sees WPL as a revolution in women's cricket in India.
- Notably, Mirza will mentor the likes of Smriti Mandhana, Richa Ghosh, and Ellyse Perry at RCB.
What did Mirza say?
"Indian women's cricket has seen a tectonic shift with the Women's Premier League, and I am really looking forward to being a part of this revolutionary pitch," Mirza told RCB TV. "RCB and its brand philosophy perfectly resonates with my vision and outlook as that's how I have approached my playing career," the veteran added further.
One of the most successful tennis players from India
Mirza is India's most successful female tennis player. She is a three-time champion in women's doubles (Wimbledon and US Open in 2015; 2016 Australian Open). She is also a three-time winner in mixed doubles (2009 AO, 2012 French Open, and 2014 US Open). Mirza has won a total of 43 titles in doubles and three in mixed doubles, besides a solitary title in singles.
Presenting RCB's squad for WPL 2023
RCB spent Rs. 11.9 crore to buy 18 players at the concluded auction. The tally comprises 12 Indian and six overseas players. Squad: Smriti Mandhana, Sophie Devine, Ellyse Perry, Renuka Singh, Richa Ghosh, Erin Burns, Disha Kasat, Indrani Roy, Asha Shobana, Kanika Ahuja, Dane van Niekerk, Preeti Bose, Poonam Khemnar, Komal Zanzad, Megan Schutt, Sahana Pawar, Heather Knight, Shreyanka Patil.
Mandhana is likely to lead
Mandhana would be the go-to option as captain for RCB. She owns a 6-5 win-loss record while leading India Women in T20Is. She led the Trailblazers to a title in the 2019 Women's T20 Challenge. Knight, who captains England in WT20Is, is another viable candidate. Perry can also be considered for the job. She captains Sydney Sixers in the Women's Big Bash League.
WPL to get underway on March 4
The opener of the inaugural WPL will be played on March 4. The competition will conclude on March 26. A total of 22 games will be played across two venues in Mumbai - DY Patil Stadium and Cricket Club of India (CCI).