There has been quite a buzz around the upcoming Women’s IPL, with players around the world predicting that it could be a game-changer. While certainly, the WIPL is expected to provide a huge platform for women cricketers to display and showcase their talent, it is also expected to play a vital role in the further development of women’s cricket.
Former Australia batsman Lisa Keatley, who recently joined SA20 franchise Pearl Royals’ support staff as a tactical performance coach, is hopeful that the WIPL will open up opportunities in the playing but also coaching setup.
In an exclusive conversation with Lisa, who played nine Tests, 82 ODIs and T20Is between 1995 and 2005 News18 CricketNextThe Royals spoke about her journey with the franchise so far, being the only female support staff in the league and what the WIPL has to offer.
How has the journey with the Royals been so far?
It’s wonderful to be a part of the Royals family. I really felt like I was part of a family and was warmly welcomed. My time has been great so far and I’m really excited to see how I get on in the coming weeks.
What is your message to women interested in entering this field as support staff?
To be honest, I wasn’t really quite sure what to expect but what I learned is that the environment is very similar to what I’m used to in the women’s game. Basically, it’s about cricket and getting to know people and working with them. I didn’t find anything too challenging and as I said the support staff and players were very welcoming. This is very encouraging.
Pearl Royals have some experienced names in the setup. How is this collective experience helping it?
Like I said the atmosphere is great. We have leaders in our team. We’ve got (Eoin) Morgan, David (Miller), Jos (Butler). Players who have captained various leagues and countries around the world. So, from a game perspective, young guys are trying to pick their brains as much as possible.
Same happened with JP (Dumini). He was a great player and now in his coaching journey, it’s really good to see how he goes about it. In fact, Charlton and Mandla and everybody complement each other in our style, in our coaching meetings and preparation for games. We go into team discussions with a lot of clarity.
How good is Bjorn Fortune in the competition so far?
He is able to bowl in the powerplay and take wickets which is great for us. He has certainly led the way with the ball from a spinning perspective. The way he has taken on big names in other teams is great. It seems he thrives on it and loves the challenge.
WIPL is starting this year. What do you do with it?
The first thing we will get is that people will watch more women’s cricket. It will be inspiring for other women to see women coming forward and leading in some sports around the world. I think it will help and encourage other sports. I think WIPL will take the lead and push other sports to embrace women’s sports and what can be done.
From a player’s point of view, you just want to play in the best competition in the world. It is really exciting for individual players to test themselves in various competitions around the world.
Moreover, the opportunity for female coaches in the competition is very big. Hopefully, WIPL will open up opportunities for the coaching staff and staff behind the scenes and obviously, it will be a platform for cricket.
What are your thoughts on the Royals’ investment in women’s cricket?
The good thing about the Royals is that they’ve been doing it for years now. they do
Really want to play cricket for everyone in India. It’s not just about making franchises, it’s about bringing cricket to local areas. From a women cricketer’s point of view, this is an opportunity for them.
It’s been really exciting and beautiful to hear about the foundation they have to support women within the area. It’s really exciting that the Royals have been doing this for years.
Who are the players who can fetch big money in WIPL auction?
(Marijan) Kapp is a player that any franchise would want. (Smriti) Mandhana is an excellent left-handed opening batsman. From Australia, you can have (Meg) Lanning, (Beth) Mooney, (Alice) Perry. Deepti Sharma is another Indian player who will be roped in by the franchise. It will be interesting to see how it works.