WIPL will open up opportunities, people will watch more of women’s cricket: Former Australia batter Lisa Keightley – Firstcricket News, Firstpost

There has been quite a buzz around the upcoming Women’s IPL with players from across the world predicting it will prove to be a game-changer. While surely, WIPL is expected to provide a massive platform for women cricketers to perform and exhibit their talent, it is also expected to play a key role in the further development of women’s cricket.

Former Australia batter Lisa Keightley, who recently joined the SA20 franchise Paarl Royals support staff as the Tactical Performance Coach, is optimistic that WIPL will open up playing opportunities but also in the coaching setup.

Lisa, who played nine Tests, 82 ODIs, and T20I between 1995 and 2005, in an exclusive conversation with News18 CricketNext, talked about her journey with the Royals franchise so far, being the only woman support staff in the league and what the WIPL has on offer.

How has been the journey with the Royals so far?

It’s been fantastic to be a part of the Royals family. I really feel like I’m part of a family and being welcomed in brilliantly. My time so far has been fantastic and I’m really excited to see how we go ahead in the coming weeks.

What’s your message to women aspiring to be in this field as support staff?

To be honest, I was really totally unsure what to expect coming in but what I have learnt is that the environment is very similar to what I have been used to in the women’s game. Basically, it’s about cricket and to know people and working with them. I haven’t found too many things challenging and as I said the support staff and the players have been very welcoming. It’s something very encouraging.

The Paarl Royals have some experienced names in the setup. How is this collective experience helping it out?

As I said the environment is fantastic. We have leaders within the team. We have got (Eoin) Morgan, David (Miller), Jos (Buttler). Players who have captained in different leagues and countries around the world. So, from a playing point of view, the younger guys are trying to pick their brains as much as they can.

It was the same with JP (Duminy). He was a fantastic player and now in his coaching journey, it’s been really nice to see how he goes about it. In fact, Charlton and Mandla, and everyone complement each other in our styles, in our coaching meetings, and preparing for games. We go into the team discussion with a lot of clarity.

How good has been Bjorn Fortuin in the competition so far?

He is able to bowl in the powerplay and has been taking wickets which is fantastic for us. He has definitely led the way with the ball from a spinning perspective. The way he takes on the big names in the other teams has been brilliant. It looks like he thrives on it and loves the challenge.

The WIPL is getting introduced this year. What do you make of it?

The first thing that we will get is that people will watch more of women’s cricket. That will be inspiring for other females to see women at the forefront and leading some of the sports across the world. I think that will help and encourage other sports. I think the WIPL will be the forefront and push other sport to embrace women’s sports and what can be done.

As a player’s perspective, you just want to play in the best competitions around the world. That’s really exciting for individual players to test themselves all around the world in different competitions.

Moreover, the opportunities for female coaches in the competition is a big one. Hopefully, the WIPL will open up opportunities for coaching staff and staff behind the scenes and obviously, it would be a platform for cricket.

What are your thoughts on Royals investing in women’s cricket?

The good thing about the Royals is that they have been doing this for a number of years now. They do

really want to make cricket in India a game for all. It’s not just about the make franchise, it’s also getting cricket into local area. From a female cricketer’s perspective, it’s an opportunity for them.

The foundations that they have in supporting women within the areas have been really exciting and nice to hear that. It is really pleasing to see that the Royals have been doing that for years.

Who are the players who can fetch big money in the WIPL auction?

(Marizanne) Kapp is a player whom any franchise would want. (Smriti) Mandhana is a fantastic left-handed opening batter. From Australia, you can have (Meg) Lanning, (Beth) Mooney, (Ellyse) Perry. Deepti Sharma is another Indian player whom the franchises will look to rope in the side. It would be interesting to see how it works out.

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