Former India captain Mithali Raj is reportedly set to join the Gujarat franchise as a mentor in the upcoming and inaugural season of the Women’s Indian T20 League. The Adani Group-owned Gujarat franchise made the highest bid out of all parties to own the franchise, which was made official on Wednesday, January 25.
According to a report by Sports 18 Cricket Next, Raj expressed interest in representing the Mumbai-based franchise as a player but decided to settle for a role as a mentor with the Gujarat Giants.
A source close to the developments said, “Mithali Raj was keen to play but she is now all set to mentor the Gujarat team for the inaugural Women’s Premier League.”
“Yes there was interest from her side to play, particularly for the team based out of Mumbai but things didn’t quite materialise the way she would have wanted and a lucrative role with the Gujarat team came her way. It’s always good to have a presence of someone like Mithali in the camp. The vast experience across formats will only benefit the team she is going to be a part of,” the source added.
Great opportunity for Women cricketers
Raj has featured in 89 T20Is for the country and accumulated 2,364 runs at a healthy average of 37.52. She last played a T20I game for India in 2019 against England at home. She continued to play ODI and Tests before announcing retirement in June 2022. Raj has been the face of Indian women’s cricket for decades and her participation in the Women’s cash-rich League will only boost the brand value and connect with the masses.
The Women’s Indian T20 League marks a tipping point in the legacy of women’s cricket in India. From the sport being available as a hobby to steps being taken towards an increasingly professional setup, the women’s game has come a long way.
The first season of the Women’s T20 League can be organized from 4 March. Recently, five teams were selected for the first season of the Women’s League. Among the five, Ahmedabad was sold for the highest price (₹1289 crore), followed by Mumbai ( ₹901 crores), Bengaluru ( ₹901 crore), Delhi ( ₹810 crores), and Lucknow ( ₹757 crores).