Having had a superb season for Melbourne Renegades, India’s T20I skipper Harmanpreet Kaur became the first Indian to be named WBBL player of the tournament. The 32-year-old allrounder ended the league stage as Renegades’ leading run-scorer and wicket-taker.
The right-handed batter smashed 399 runs in 11 innings at an average of 66.50 and a strike rate of 135.25. On top of that, the offspinner also claimed 15 wickets at a strike rate of 16.4 and an economy of 7.46. Harmanpreet, who became the third overseas player to be named the WBBL's player of the tournament after Sophie Devine (twice) and Amy Satterthwaite, is now eagerly waiting for the BCCI to establish a women’s IPL.
"I think we have been looking at this for a long time and I hope, you know, sooner this women's IPL will also start and we will also invite overseas players over there so that they can also share their experience with our domestic players. I think this is something we are really waiting for and I hope, you know, this will start," said Harmanpreet.
"Performance is something which is in our hands and that's what we have been doing and the rest of the things are totally dependent on BCCI and the cricket board. We can't do something extra on that but we can only request and that's what we have done, you know, for many years.
"They know better than us. They know when to do it and how to start and they are also thinking about that and I'm sure, you know, they will definitely come up with something for women's cricket."
Harmanpreet was the first Indian to play in both the WBBL and the Super League in England and is now hoping that this award will inspire the next generation of players in India. "Playing any tournament will give you lots of confidence and WBBL is something, you know, it's a very, very big platform back home.
"Every Indian wants to play in this league and I was the first one who got this opportunity to play and today, you know, winning this player of the tournament definitely gives lots of confidence to Indian girls also. They can also come here and perform and, you know, be part of this and then there are all the chances to achieve a lot in their cricket career."
Harmanpreet also thanked her Indian and Renegades teammate Jemimah Rodrigues and coach Simon Helmet for their support throughout the competition. "I think that is the reason I was more calm. II was enjoying (playing) more because you know I had a teammate from back home and I really, really enjoyed her company.
"Simon is a very, very nice human and is a great, great coach. I was lucky, you know, I played under him and I learned a lot from him and I think when I go back, I will definitely share his working skills with our coaches and definitely share this experience with my teammates."
The Renegades will take on the winner of Tuesday's Eliminator between Brisbane Heat and Adelaide Strikers in tomorrow's Challenger. If they manage to emerge victorious, they will come face to face against Perth Scorchers in the grand finale on Saturday. "I have never (won) any title like this so far. And if we win, that will be a very great achievement for me."
Meanwhile, up-and-coming Sydney Thunder batter Phoebe Litchfield was named the competition's best young player. "It means a lot to be recognised with this award. It's a surprise, to be honest. I could think of a number of other young players who would be deserving of this award, which is really exciting for the future," said the 21-year-old.
"Batting at No. 3 was a challenge but also a great opportunity. I was very privileged that Trevor Griffin trusted me with that spot and I hope I made the most of it."