If you’re impressed by some uncapped Indians at WPL 2023, wait for the others
It has been only five matches into the Women’s Premier League 2023, but several uncapped Indian players have already left a mark. Yet, as Krithika V writes, there are many, many others waiting to prove their mettle.
Ahead of WPL 2023, not many would have backed Bengal left-arm spinner Saika Ishaque to don the Purple Cap. These are still early days, but with six wickets in two matches, she is the leading wicket-taker of the tournament at this point.
Ishaque is not the only uncapped Indian cricketer to have impressed in this edition. And for every cricketer who has impressed, there are several others who are likely to as the WPL progresses.
Shreyanka Patil (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
One of the most-followed Indian uncapped players, Patil made heads turn at the 2019/20 KSCA Women’s League with 17 wickets in six innings. She impressed during the series against Zimbabwe, finished the Senior One Day Trophy as joint-second leading wicket-taker, and got her first List A half-century this year.
Against Mumbai Indians, she came at No.7, and announced herself with a boundary off the first ball she faced, and hit two more off Ishaque. She ended with 23 off 15 to help Royal Challengers Bangalore go past 150, though she was expensive with the ball.
Kanika Ahuja (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Only 21, Ahuja has all the potential to become one of the best Indian all-rounders. She is yet to bowl in the WPL, which is surprising, given how Bangalore have fared so far. She scored a triple century in the recent Inter-District One Day, and at the WPL, impressed during her 13-ball 22 against a strong Mumbai Indians attack, including the biggest six of the game.
Jintimani Kalita (Mumbai Indians)
Kalita made it to the Mumbai XI after impressing the team management with her fielding skills during Mumbai’s intra-squad games. The youngster has been athletic on the field but is yet to pick up a wicket in her three overs, though she has conceded only 22.
Saika Ishaque (Mumbai Indians)
Easily the WPL’s best uncapped bowler so far, Ishaque holds the Purple Cap at the time of writing. Bowling the fifth over against Gujarat, she cleaned up Annabel Sutherland with her fourth ball, and got Georgia Wareham, Mansi Joshi, and Monica Patel to finish with 4-11. Against Bangalore, she got Sophie Devine and Disha Kasat in her 2-26.
The ones in the wings
While these cricketers have impressed in the early stages of the WPL, other uncapped Indians are waiting in the wings, eager to pounce on every opportunity.
Simran Shaikh (UP Warriorz)
Impressive in the field in both matches, Shaikh is yet to deliver with the bat, partly because she has been batting too low down the order. She can do with an earlier entry point in the innings.
Shweta Sehrawat (UP Warriorz)
The leading run-scorer of this year’s Under-19 World Cup has had a couple of forgettable nights at the WPL, managing only five and one. She is expected to gain some form as the tournament goes by.
Humaira Kazi (Mumbai Indians)
A local star, Kazi got neither a bat nor a bowl in Mumbai Indians’ two massive wins. She is in good form, having won the Player of the Match for her four wickets in the recently concluded MCA President’s Cup right before the WPL.
Jasia Akhtar (Delhi Capitals)
Yet to make it to the Delhi Capitals playing XI, the Rajasthan captain could be a good addition to any line-up, and can be entrusted to clear the smaller boundaries with ease. Delhi may not be keen on changing their winning combination anytime soon, but Akhtar’s time will come.
Hurley Gala (Gujarat Giants)
Still in her teens, Gala can turn around the Giants’ lacklustre show with her pace and ability to score quickly. Mumbai needed to accelerate in the U19 T20 Trophy to boost their net run rate against Jharkhand and stay in knockout contention. They promoted Gala, their usual No.5, to open, and she sealed the game with a 22-ball unbeaten 45.
Asha Shobana Joy (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
The most experienced uncapped player in the Bangalore unit, Asha can turn the ball a mile and is an excellent middle-order batter. In her only match, she conceded seven in her first over before Mag Lanning and Shafali Verma took 22 of her second. She never got another over, was sent too low down the order to make an impact, and got dropped.