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Interview | ‘More Teams, Home & Away Format’: Harmanpreet Kaur’s WPL Suggestions

Will we see #HarmanpreetKaur playing at the 2028 #Olympics? How can #WPL get better? The captain answers.

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Only a few weeks after leading her team to an Asian Games gold medal, Harmanpreet Kaur – captain of the Indian women’s cricket team – came to know that the sport has been included in the 2028 Olympics roster. Playing a major role in its inclusion was the success of women’s cricket at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, where India won a silver medal.

While winning an Olympic medal will henceforth be on every cricketer’s agenda, Harmanpreet will be 39 when the tournament in Los Angeles commences. Will we see her playing till then?

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The Quint spoke with Harmanpreet Kaur to find out. Currently playing in Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), she also gave suggestions for the Women’s Premier League (WPL) to follow, with the season 2 auction knocking at the doors.

Excerpts from the interview:

Cricket has been officially included in the 2028 Olympics roster. It is the pinnacle of all sporting events, but it is also five years away. Do you know what you will be doing around that time?

Haha (laughs), no I don't. To win an Olympic gold for the country will be a dream for every cricketer, but it is difficult to say what I will be doing. I don’t know what I will be doing in 2028, but if I do get the opportunity, I’ll surely want to participate and win gold for India.

Will we see #HarmanpreetKaur playing at the 2028 #Olympics? How can #WPL get better?

The captain answers.
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But have you decided till when you will extend your playing career? And after retirement, will we see you in coaching?

It is tough to say that now. My playing career will totally depend on my fitness. As long as I am fit and I can give my best for India, I will keep playing. The moment I feel I am not being able to compete with the youngsters and they are doing much better than me, I will retire. But till that day, I will continue offering my services to my country.

As for what I will do after retirement, I will think about that only after I retire. Right now, my only focus is on my playing career.

Will we see #HarmanpreetKaur playing at the 2028 #Olympics? How can #WPL get better?

The captain answers.
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The first season of WPL was a success. You have played in foreign leagues like WBBL, and have seen their gradual progression. What should be the next steps for WPL?  

Yes, the first edition of the WPL was really good. The organisers did a great job. Tournaments like WPL are very important, especially for the domestic players.

My only concern is about the domestic players – there should be more number of teams so they can get more opportunities. This will help us build a good squad for the national team.

Playing home and away will definitely be the next step, while more matches will be very helpful. International players are always busy anyway, they are playing plenty of matches. But if we can add more teams and there are more matches in WPL, the domestic players will be hugely benefited.

Will we see #HarmanpreetKaur playing at the 2028 #Olympics? How can #WPL get better?

The captain answers.
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You’ve been a part of Indian teams that came really close to winning ICC tournaments, but never quite did it. Considering how dominant your team was at the Asian Games, do you think an ICC trophy is just around the corner?

Yes, definitely. BCCI are doing everything to get us the trophy. WPL is doing well, the domestic circuit is getting better and we have so many U-18 tournaments now.

As a team, we have been into many semi-finals and finals, so now we want to lift a trophy. All of us are working towards that. Our national academies have also dedicated many trainers and coaches who can keep track of every athlete. We are headed in the right direction – now, we just need to keep doing the right things and hopefully, the ICC trophy will arrive soon.

Will we see #HarmanpreetKaur playing at the 2028 #Olympics? How can #WPL get better?

The captain answers.
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Being the leader, do you think the youngsters were a major reason behind the team’s dominance? 

Of course. The youngsters have been very expressive towards the team and whenever they are getting opportunities, they are always ready. They always want to take the opportunity, whatever is coming their way. It is good to see that so many young players are so keen to take the opportunities and they are so much aware of what international cricket is, and how to keep themselves ready.

Will we see #HarmanpreetKaur playing at the 2028 #Olympics? How can #WPL get better?

The captain answers.

Youngsters played a big role in India's gold triumph at the 2023 Asian Games.

(Photo: PTI)

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Many young cricketers consider you as their role model. How do you guide them?

The most important thing is that they should enjoy what they are doing, because if you enjoy your job, you’re bound to get success.

We tend to think about cricket all the game, so it is necessary to just relax and clear our minds. I always tell the youngsters to not worry about results and be prepared for every situation. Results will come, but they need to enjoy what they are doing.

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Tie-ups with corporates are also helping the future generation. In your case, you have been associated with PUMA for a long time. Tell us about the partnership.

It is important for athletes to have such associations, because it plays a very big role mentally. When you’re associated with a brand like PUMA, you always feel free because you don’t need to worry about the shoes and clothes. They have been so supportive, and are working with the grassroots-level athletes too. Not many might know about this, but they are helping many domestic cricketers, not the international cricketers only.

And it is not just about the cricketers. PUMA have been working with so many athletes from different sports and helping them. I am glad to be associated with them.

Will we see #HarmanpreetKaur playing at the 2028 #Olympics? How can #WPL get better?

The captain answers.

(Photo: Sourced by The Quint)

PUMA supported 110-plus athletes across 14 sports at the recent continental multi-sport event in China as 42 athletes won medals across team and individual events.

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India have two important series coming up – against England and Australia. We didn’t use to have such clarity and aggressiveness in scheduling when you started your career. How important is this transition?

You are right. When I started playing, we would hardly get a chance to play in one or two series in a year. But we are getting back-to-back cricket now, and as a cricketer, I have always wanted to have a busy schedule. Because staying at home and doing nothing does not help us.

Playing back-to-back cricket is something we are enjoying. The next three months are very important for us. Some really competitive matches are coming up, including two Test matches. We are looking forward to that.

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