‘Team Balance Has Improved’: Captain Smriti Mandhana Hopes RCB Lives up to Potential in WPL 2024

Last Updated: February 19, 2024, 20:16 IST

Smriti Mandhana-led RCB finished fourth on the points table last season. (BCCI Photo)

Smriti Mandhana-led RCB finished fourth on the points table last season. (BCCI Photo)

RCB spent close to Rs 2.5 crore to acquire services of many impact players like Ekta Bisht, Kate Cross, Georgia Wareham among others at the WPL auction.

Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Smriti Mandhana says her team’s balance has improved considerably after acquiring new players and it should help them do a better job in the second season of the Women’s Premier League (WPL), starting February 23.

Royal Challengers Banaglore had endured a tough inaugural season in 2023 as it lost six of the eight matches and finished fourth in five-team competition. The second season will be played in New Delhi and Bengaluru.

RCB spent close to Rs 2.5 crore to acquire services of many impact players like Ekta Bisht (left-arm spinner), Kate Cross (pacer), Georgia Wareham (leg-spinner), Sabbineni Meghana (all-rounder), Simran Bahadur (medium-pacer), Sophie Molineux (left-arm spinner) and home-grown talent Shubha Satheesh (all-rounder).

“I would definitely want it to be better than the first season. From RCB’s point of view, quite a few players were released and we brought in new players. So, the balance has improved for sure, and we are hoping to live up to our potential,” Mandhana told JioCinema.

The team had released seven players: Komal Zanzad, Poonam Khemnar, Preeti Bose, Sahana Pawar, Dane van Niekerk, Erin Burns, and Megan Schutt.

The stylish batter said playing the domestic season has not only prepared her well for the upcoming WPL, it also she helped her identify a few good players.

“Playing in the domestic season helped me practice well and we saw quite a few girls against whom we’ve not played previously. I was able to recommend a few names to my franchise after seeing these girls.”

RCB had released a few members and bought as many as six new players during the WPL auction last December.

“Last year, when we joined the team two days before the tournament, we didn’t know about 90% of the players. We didn’t know what they did and what they didn’t. This year, it was important to know their strengths and weaknesses so that we can play better. The WPL is a short tournament and it’s difficult to change things when it’s on.”

Asked if she considers RCB as title contenders, the southpaw said: “We don’t want to think too far ahead. We definitely want to do better than last year and are motivated to do it. The people at our franchise are very nice and have supported us immensely, so more than anything else, we want to win the trophy for them.

“The way they backed us even after four losses last season, the conversation revolved around our well-being. So, as players, it is very important that we respect the backing we are getting, and also try to win the trophy for our fans who supported us so much last season.”

Opening the batting, Mandhana could manage only 149 runs with a highest score of 37 in the first WPL season.

“Last year, I was not able to deliver the performance expected of me. This time, I don’t want to repeat the mistakes of last year and give the team a platform from where we can launch. Our batting line-up is very good. As a captain, I know the players better this time,” she said.

Royal Challengers Bangalore will open their campaign against UP Warriors in Bengaluru on February 24.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)

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