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WPL 2024: “Kashvee Was Very Important For Us, But We Have Our Backup Plans” – Gujarat Giants Mentor Mithali Raj

The Gujarat Giants have undergone a reset for this season of WPL, with up to 10 players from last year’s 18 players released. The Giants had a busy time at the mini-auction trying to address the shortcomings from 2023. 

The Gujarat Giants spent INR 2 Crore on rising star Kashvee Gautam, but the most expensive uncapped player was ruled out of the tournament due to an injury.  Nevertheless, the management has brought in reinforcements in the form of Sayali Sathgare.

Talking about Kashvee Gautam’s absence, Mithali Raj, the mentor of Gujarat Giants said, “See injury is something that nobody can…you know foresee that somebody’s going to get injured. We try to pick the best players who are going to fit into our composition of the team. But yes to be very honest Kashvee Gautam was very important for us in the mix of things but again it’s a freak thing that she got injured and she had to pull out of the WPL.”

“But we do have Sayali who’s done really well in the domestic structure and she’s been among wickets and who also offers a bit of runs from the lower order. So we do have our backup plans in place, we worked it out. This time around we did have some days to prepare well and that has really helped us to put certain plans in place.” – mentor Methali Raj further added.

The maiden season of the WPL didn’t go according to plans for the Gujarat Giants but a fresh start lies in front of them. In preparation for this edition’s WPL, the women in orange kickstarted their training with great zeal in the Garden City of Bengaluru, and are putting in the hard yards as they approach their first game. The Gujarat Giants will open its campaign at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru against Mumbai Indians on February 25.

However, The big loss in the season opener came when the Gujarat Giants suffered at the hands of eventual champions Mumbai Indians, giving away 207 runs and getting bowled out for 64 to lose by a mammoth margin of 143 runs. Moreover, they also lost their captain Beth Mooney to an injury.

“I can tell you I’ve done a fair few calf raises this week since I got here, so hopefully we avoid that again,” said Beth Mooney with a smile. “Obviously that was a pretty disappointing time for me on a personal note, and for the team as well. I was really looking forward to the opportunity of playing in their first season of the WPL and leading the Gujarat Giants to a little bit of success but you know that obviously didn’t work out.”

She again shared, “(I’m) just really excited to get started and get that first game under my belt hopefully a full game this time around and yeah contribute to some success and you know involve myself a lot with the local players and impart some knowledge there. Whilst it was disappointing last year I’m very grateful and lucky to be given an opportunity again to lead the team.”

Apart from Beth Mooney, the Gujarat Giants have quality overseas players like Ashleigh Gardner, Laura Wolvaardt and Phoebe Litchfield. One of the three would miss out if they try to strengthen their pace department with New Zealand quick Lea Tahuhu, especially after Kashvee Gautam was ruled out as well.

“I don’t want to give out too many details yet to give out our plans but we can play four overseas and what we do have is the luxury of having an associate player in Kathryn Bryce. She is a high quality player, one of Scotland’s best players, and she will certainly fit into our lineup. So in theory we can play five overseas players with that. I suppose what we just need to decide is the balance of our batters versus our bowlers,” said Klinger.

He again added, “I think in tournaments like this around the world there is a lot of talk about the overseas players but the team that ends up winning, their domestic players are very good players. We have got the luxury of having some great local batters as well in Harleen Deol, Hema, and Veda Krishnamurthy, she is getting an opportunity again. So I think that is really exciting for this group because if there is an overreliance on the overseas and internationals, they tend to fall away at the back end of the tournament in terms of the team dynamics. So I think we are really fortunate to have high-quality batting options in that top six for sure.”

However, the maiden season of the WPL didn’t go well for the Gujarat Giants but they are hoping for a fresh start in WPL 2024.

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