World T20 success crucial for holding women's league in India, says Veda Krishnamurthy after securing WBBL deal
Indian batswoman Veda Krishnamurthy is set to become just the third cricketer from the country to play in the Big Bash, after securing a deal with the Hobart Hurricanes for the third season of the WBBL. She’ll become the third overseas player for the Hurricanes, joining the duo of Hayley Matthews and Lauren Winfield.
There were talks in June last year that she would become the first Indian cricketer to join the BBL, but a deal with the Sydney Thunders did not transpire.
After India's stellar run in the World Cup, one that ended in a cruel defeat in the finals, women players found a different reception altogether on returning to India.
Krishnamurthy's name started to feature on the BBL radar once again. Over the last one week, there were talks that a deal was close to being finalised, and the final round of negotiations was done on Wednesday.
An elated Veda spoke to Sportskeeda after the deal finally went through. Measured but truthful, she spoke about how she wants to fare well for her newest team, just as she has done for India:
“I am excited and happy that I’ll get to be a part of it. This is going to be a completely different thing, so I am looking forward to it. I just want to go there and enjoy my game. The fact that I have represented India there [in Australia], I want to do well again for my franchise.”
Part of the Indian side for the Women’s World Cup earlier this year, Krishnamurthy played a key role in the team reaching the finals of the tournament, scoring a brisk 70 to help them go past New Zealand and reach the semis.
It is a big personal achievement for Krishnamurthy, who conceded that she was not expecting to be approached by Australian franchises this year. The stint will give her an opportunity to hone her skills and exhibit her talent to a wider audience in the cricket-frenzy country of Australia and the world over. The 25-year-old believes that the league helps players gain a fresh perspective and add new skills to their repertoire.
"It is important to play in a different league with a different set of players, because normally you are in your own comfort zone, playing with people you know. Going abroad and playing with people from different cultures will be good."
Hailing from the Karnataka hill station Chikmagalur, she now joins teammates Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana for a stint in the Big Bash, Australia’s premier domestic T20 tournament. With an aggressive style of batting and impressive fielding prowess for company, Krishnamurthy is tailor-made to make an impact in the shortest format. Is there something specific she would ask her teammates before heading for Australia?
"I've played in Australia before, I have quite an idea about how the wickets are there: I'll be going pretty much around the same time we [India] went, so there is not much of a difference. It is just another game for me. I haven’t really spoken to them [Harmanpreet and Mandhana] on how the Big Bash works. Having played for India, nothing can be bigger than that, just going there with an open mind to absorb as much as I can."
While her services will be at the Hobart franchise’s disposal for a major chunk of the season, she’ll have to forego playing in the latter stages of the BBL, with India’s tour to South Africa coinciding with the lucrative tournament.
When asked about how she'd have to quickly adapt, Krishnamurthy seemed unconcerned.
"Once I finish that [BBL], I will come back and will still have 15 days to prepare. That should be enough for me to switch between formats. Moreover, when we play tournaments for India, be it T20s then ODIs or vice versa, they are conducted one after the other. Now, I have 15 days to switch. That shouldn't be something to worry about."
Before she heads to Australia, Krishnamurthy will sweat it out in the India camp at the NCA in Bengaluru, come November 8. The Women’s Big Bash commences on December 8, and the 25-year-old has committed to be a part of the same until January 15, 2018.
She explained how an India camp is crucial for the women, especially with the aim of regrouping the players who had been busy with several commitments after the World Cup.
"We have been doing our training, so we are going to regroup after the World Cup with the 10-day camp, after which everyone will head out for their domestic games. When we leave for South Africa next year, we won't have enough time to have a separate camp."
There is no denying that women’s cricket is gaining ground quickly, both in India and on the global scale, especially after the success of the immensely-popular Women’s World Cup that took place this year. Yet, a T20 league of the same kind is still something women's cricket in India seems to be lacking. Veda believes that it is a gradual process, and will take time:
"It is important for us to take things one step at a time. We cannot jump from one thing to another. If we do well in the T20 World Cup and get players coming in, that's when we can have a league of our own once and for all."
Once playing in the shadows of their male counterparts, Krishnamurthy and her teammates have now become household names in the country, proving to be an example for several budding cricketers to look up to.