Player management priority for Devine as Women's game grows at rapid pace

The RCB all-rounder, who hasn't fired all cylinders so far in WPL, will be keen to do well on Monday

Published: 13th March 2023 01:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th March 2023 01:04 AM   |  A+A-

Sophie Devine: All she wants is to contribute to the team's cause. (Photo | BCCI)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Sophie Devine is not one to mince words. Ask her a genuine question, on any topic, without any insinuation, you will know what she thinks. She is not just a world-class all-rounder and an international captain, Devine is a leader, and a stateswoman. She didn't hesitate one bit to express her anger about her disappointing performance in the T20 World Cup on the day of the Women's Premier League auction, nor did she think twice to explain the kind of impact the auction had on the players in the New Zealand dressing room.

After a disappointing World Cup campaign with the White Ferns, Devine is in Mumbai with the Royal Challengers Bangalore — another team that has struggled so far. That Devine has blown hot and cold hasn't helped either. 132 runs from four innings at a strike rate of 145.05 don't necessarily look bad, but certainly, not up to the standards the power-hitting opener has established for herself. After all, we are talking about someone who bats at a SR of 369.5 in the seven Super Overs she has been a part of without losing a single match. In fact, she had spoken about how it opens up the possibility of playing with similar freedom on every ball. And as RCB take on Delhi Capitals in their next game, they would be hoping that 'Super Over Sophie' would come to the fore.

That said, Devine was not always the player she is. Not when she made her debut back in 2006 as a 17-year-old. Neither was the women's game. To say that it has come a long way is one thing, but there is more to it. From not getting regular game-time throughout the year in the past to a possibility of at least five franchise leagues apart from international cricket in the calendar, it is all coming together at the same time.
How does any female athlete handle this? Devine believes keeping the players at the forefront while developing the game is key. "To think now here we are as players getting paid the amount we are getting paid, I think it is unbelievable how quickly the game has grown. And it is really exciting to see what is going to happen in the future," she told this daily. "It is really important to keep the players in the front of the mind in terms of making sure that we are supporting them so that they can feel refreshed and put their best versions forward."

At 33, as for her personal goals for the tournament, all Devine wants is to contribute to the team's cause. "The most important thing is that we want to make sure we are helping this team to get into winning positions, we are winning games of cricket. At the end of the day,  every team wants to win trophies and we are no different."From the way things have gone so far, Devine would be the first to put her hand up and say she hasn't been putting RCB in a winning position. Come Monday, she would want to do something about it.

India Matters


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